Last week Monday, the White House released a statement indicating that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) will be accessible to Venezuelans present in the U.S. for the next 18 months, until September 2022.
The designation was made by the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas in light of Venezuela’s current humanitarian crisis. The country’s hardships have been marked by ”widespread hunger and malnutrition, a growing influence and presence of non-state armed groups, repression, and a crumbling infrastructure.”
According to The UN Refugee Agency, more than 3.6 million Venezuelans have been displaced abroad, with over 800,000 of them seeking asylum worldwide.
This designation will provide a legal pathway for the 320,000 Venezuelan migrants to apply to live and work in the U.S. for a limited period.
Stateless persons who last resided in Venezuela are also eligible to apply for TPS.
Eligible migrants must be continuously present in the U.S. as of March 8, 2021, and apply within the180 day filing window.
What is TPS?
Temporary Protected Status provides temporary immigration benefits to individuals from countries experiencing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions.
It offers protection to persons who cannot safely reside in or be returned to their home countries due to unstable conditions.
TPS recipients benefit from the following:
Protection from removal (i.e. deportation);
Employment authorization; and
It is important to note that TPS is a temporary immigration benefit and does not independently offer a path to lawful U.S. permanent resident status.
However, President Biden’s immigration bill, the US Citizenship Act Of 2021 (recently presented Congress), proposes making persons protected under TPS and DED (Deferred Enforced Departure) eligible for U.S. permanent residence, and U.S. citizenship three years later.
TPS beneficiaries can file unrelated applications with USCIS, including but not limited to applications requesting:
Adjustment of Status; and
Other immigration benefits or protections.
Deferred Enforced Departure Instituted Under President Trump
On his last day in office, President Trump issued a memorandum that granted Deferred Enforced Departure (“DED”) for Venezuelans at risk of being deported. His memorandum deferred removal proceedings for vulnerable Venezuelans for 18 months. DED applicants are also eligible to apply for employment authorization.
Venezuelan nationals who received DED are also eligible to apply for TPS.
USCIS forms for TPS
I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status; and
I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
There is a filing fee for initial TPS applications. However, there is no fee when re-registering for TPS.
Filing fees vary according to age, whether the person is applying for employment authorization or requesting a waiver on the grounds of inadmissibility.
You can calculate your fees here.
To be eligible for TPS, an individual must:
Be a national of a country designated for TPS, or an individual without nationality who most recently resided in the designated country;
File during the open initial registration or re-registration period. Individuals may also apply if they meet the requirements for late initial filing during any extension of their country’s TPS eligibility;
Have been continuously physically present (CPP) in the U.S. since the effective date of the most recent designation date of their country; and
Have been continuously residing (CR) in the U.S. since the date specified for their country.
USCIS’s TPS guidelines note, “The law allows an exception to the continuous physical presence and continuous residence requirements for brief, casual and innocent departures from the United States. When you apply or re-register for TPS, you must inform USCIS of all absences from the United States since the CPP and CR dates. USCIS will determine whether the exception applies in your case.”
Individuals may not be eligible for TPS if they have been convicted of a felony or have committed multiple misdemeanors in the U.S.
Additionally, individuals who are found inadmissible under INA section 212(a) for acts such as non-waivable criminal and security-related offences may also not be eligible.
The following exhibits must accompany TPS applications:
Documents confirming the applicant’s identity and demonstrating that the applicant is from a TPS designated country (e.g. passport, birth certificate and photo identification, national ID card or naturalization certificate);
Evidence of the applicant’s date of entry (e.g. passport or I-94); and
Evidence of the applicant’s continuous residence (e.g. employment records, rent receipts, utility bills, U.S. school records, medical records or attestations from organizations in which the applicant holds membership).
To maintain TPS once granted, individuals must re-register to maintain their status during their country’s re-registration periods.
If you would like assistance preparing a TPS application, contact us here.
We assist countless foreign nationals and we will be happy to personally assist you with your application as well. Send us an E-mail or call us at (888)354-6257. For reasons on why you should consult an immigration attorney whenever you have an immigration issue, see our page titled: Reasons Why it is Vital to Use an Immigration Lawyer.