The Department of Homeland Security today announced that Nepal has been designated for “Temporary Protected Status” due to the 7.8 earthquake that struck the country on April 25 and its aftermath.

To qualify, Nepalese nationals must have been in the United States as of today’s date (June 24, 2015) and must apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services within the next 180 days (until December 21, 2015).  Details and instructions may be found on the USCIS’s TPS website for Nepal.

TPS applicants may also apply for Employment Authorization Documents.  Approved applicants will not be removed from the United States if they should fall out of valid status.  In addition, because TPS is a humanitarian benefit based on severe crisis in an individual’s home country, USCIS has previously affirmed that it will not initiate removal proceedings against even unsuccessful applicants unless there are extenuating circumstances.

The TPS designation for Nepal will remain in effect through December 24, 2016, at which time DHS will determine whether to redesignate or extend the current designation.   Redesignation may extend TPS eligibility to Nepalese nationals who arrived in the US after today’s date.