The Department of Homeland Security announced on Thursday that it will allow citizens from three Ebola-stricken West African countries who are currently in the U.S. to stay for up to 18 months.
“Due to the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has announced his decision to designate Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months,” reads a statement from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The reprieve will also be granted to people without nationality who “last habitually resided” in one of the three West African nations.
Over 5,000 people from the three countries have died from Ebola as of Nov. 11, according to the BBC.
Applicants who qualify for the amnesty will not be removed from the U.S. and will also be authorized to work. Security checks will be conducted, the statement from DHS reads, and individuals deemed to be a national security threat will not qualify for relief.
To qualify for temporary amnesty applicants must have been “continuously residing” in the U.S. since Nov. 20 and “continuously physically present in” the U.S. since Nov. 21.
Those applying for temporary relief can also apply for a fee waiver by filling out a form I-912 or through a written request.
The announcement comes on the same day that President Barack Obama is set to announce an amnesty package that will grant relief to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants.