Venezuelans Residing Within the United States Are Protected for 18 Months
The future of eligible Venezuelans in the United States is protected for a while longer. Homeland Security secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas designated Venezuela for temporary protected status (TPS) for 18 months – lasting until September 2022. This decision has the potential to protect over 320,000 individuals currently in the United States. However, not every Venezuelan will qualify.
What Is Temporary Protected Status?
TPS is a Temporary Protected status granted to eligible foreign nationals from countries designated under the Immigration and Nationality Act. It offers protection to these individuals by:
- Allowing them to stay in the United States
- Authorizing them to seek employment and travel authorization
- Protecting them from removal
It is not a road to permanent residency, wherein all individuals will at some point become legal permanent U.S. residents. Still, individuals may be eligible to adjust their immigration status if they meet the standard requirements. That is to say, an individual is neither immediately granted nor prohibited from seeking permanent residency because of their temporary protected status.
Who Qualifies for Temporary Protected Status?
Venezuelan nationals – as well as those with no nationality who last resided in Venezuela –may be eligible to file for a change in their immigration status. To qualify, one must be able to show that:
- They arrived in the United States before March 8, 2021
- They have not been convicted of a felony
- They have not been convicted of more than one misdemeanor
- They have not left the United States since arriving
Important Dates to Know
Venezuelans interested in taking advantage of this opportunity must be cognizant of a few important dates for the process. Take note of the following:
- March 9, 2021: The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) made Venezuelans eligible for TPS, marking the start of the registration period.
- September 5, 2021: The deadline to file for TPS as a Venezuelan or individual without a nationality who last resided in Venezuela.
- September 9, 2022: The projected end date for Venezuelan TPS designation.
Why TPS Is Available to Venezuelans
Venezuela was added to the list of TPS-eligible countries as they fell under one of the statutory bases for designation. Countries may be offered TPS if they suffer from at least one of the following:
- Environmental disasters
- Ongoing armed conflicts
- Temporary extraordinary conditions
Venezuela’s economic, health, and political crises, as well as the lack of access to basic needs and services, qualifies as extraordinary conditions worthy of TPS designation.
How to File for TPS
To file for TPS, qualifying individuals must submit Form I-821 and a filing fee, which varies based on the age of the applicant. Filers may also take this time to request employment authorization by completing Form I-765 and paying the appropriate fee. This is not mandatory, and can be done at a later time if the individual prefers to wait.
How TPS Differs from Deferred Enforced Departure for Venezuelans
As one of his last moves in office, former president Donald Trump issued an administrative stay of removal, or deferred enforced departure (DED) protocols, for qualifying Venezuelans.
DED is simply a directive not to remove specific individuals from the country. DED, like TPS, protects an individual’s immediate future in the United States and allows them to apply for work and travel authorization. However, unlike TPS, DED does not have any effect on a person’s immigration status. DED can also be revoked at any time.
For more information about TPS and assistance applying for it, contact Maghzi Law Firm, LLC.