The United States has extended temporary protected status (TPS) for South Sudanese until mid-2019, the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.
Temporary protected status allows nationals of countries facing armed conflict or major natural disasters, who are already in the United States, to temporarily remain and work there.
“Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of South Sudan (and eligible individuals without nationality who last habitually resided in South Sudan) through May 2, 2019,” the statement read.
South Sudan has been dogged by a civil war since December 2013, which erupted after President Salva Kiir accused his then deputy Riek Machar of plotting to overthrow his rule. Machar refuted those accusations but then went on to mobilize a rebel force to fight the government.
Beneficiaries of the TPS extension will be required to register afresh, with a deadline for doing so set to be announced later this week.
While South Sudanese citizens got the extension, DHS announced that TPS for Sudanese nationals will end this year.
Both Sudan and South Sudan’s designations were scheduled to expire on November 2, though the DHS said it would allow the Sudanese one more year to prepare for their exit.
South Sudan is ranked as Africa’s biggest refugee crisis, coming third worldwide after Syria and Afghanistan.