Does a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation mean that every Venezuelan national residing in the U.S. can expect temporary protected status? Alfredo Lozano, a board certified immigration attorney and founder of The Lozano Law Firm PLLC with offices in San Antonio, San Angelo, and Eagle Pass, Texas, clarifies this confusing issue.
On March 8, 2021, Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, designated citizens of Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the United States from March 9, 2021 through September 2022.
DHS has decided to grant Venezuelans TPS coverage due to the severe economic crisis in their home country, social instability under the challenged regime of Nicolas Maduro, and inadequate health coverage following the uncontrolled transmission of COVID-19.
What Is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?
TPS is a temporary immigration status that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant to foreign nationals currently residing in the U.S. if they are from TPS-designated countries. A specific country will generally receive a TPS designation due to circumstances such as war, civil unrest, natural disasters, epidemics, or socioeconomic crises that make the country unsafe or unstable.
The current list of TPS-designated countries includes Venezuela, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti, Burma, Nepal, Sudan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
Although TPS status is temporary, USCIS may choose to extend it, depending on the circumstances of the specific country. Therefore, the DHS Secretary must announce an extension or termination of TPS at least 60 days prior to the expiration of the current period.
Aliens with temporary protected status enjoy several significant benefits, including:
- Protection against deportation and detention based on an individual’s immigration status
- Authorization to work and study in the U.S.
- Travel authorization (under certain circumstances)
- Eligibility for a temporary driver’s license from the U.S. state in which they reside
The TPS designation may allow hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans to reside and work legally in the United States. Note, however, that TPS does not grant any permanent immigration status such as residency or citizenship.
Who Is Eligible For TPS?
To qualify for TPS, an individual must:
- Being a national of a country that USCIS designated for TPS, such as Venezuela
- File your TPS application within the registration period (or provide valid reasons for late filing).
- Demonstrate continuous presence in the U.S. as of a designated date
Who Does Not Qualify For TPS
USCIS will generally deny TPS status if the applicant:
- Has a criminal record that includes one felony or at least two misdemeanors
- Has engaged in terrorist activities or has incited terrorist activities
- Has not demonstrated continuous presence in the U.S. as of the specified date.
- Has not demonstrated a continuous presence in the U.S. as of the date specified.
How To Apply For TPS
Venezuelans residing in the United States must file their TPS applications during a 180-day registration period that began on March 9, 2021, and will end on September 5, 2021.
Forms and documents TPS applicants must submit include:
- Form I-821: Application for Temporary Protected Status
- Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization
- Evidence of identity and nationality: copies of official documents such as passports, birth certificates or naturalization certificates.
- Date of entry Evidence: arrival and departure records and a copy of passport
- Evidence of continuous residence, such as rent receipts, utility bills, employment records, medical records, etc.
If any of the documents are not in English, the applicant must provide an accurate and complete English translation.
How An Immigration Lawyer Can Help With A TPS Application
Although applying for TPS can be fairly straightforward, an individual case may encounter difficulties if the applicant is unable to provide the required documentation.
For example, resident aliens may not have valid national identity documents if they left their country during a crisis and if consular processing was not or is not currently available. In these cases, USCIS may accept secondary evidence such as baptismal certificates or affidavits from people who have close personal knowledge of the applicant.
Sometimes, an applicant must submit additional documents, such as Form I-601 (Application for Waiver of Grounds for Inadmissibility) if they have a history of prior criminal activity or deportation.
USCIS may deny TPS status simply because the applicant did not pay a fee or forgot to sign the form. However, an experienced immigration attorney can help you gather relevant documentation, evidence and photographs and fill out the necessary forms correctly to ensure that you have the best possible chance of acquiring TPS status.
Lozano Law Firm: Texas Immigration Lawyer Near Me
At Lozano Law Firm, we take pride in helping families and corporations through the immigration maze. We believe that immigrants are truly good for our country and we will do everything possible within our area of law to help clients obtain legal status in the United States.
The immigration process can pose all sorts of emotional, financial and practical challenges, including a grueling bureaucratic system that makes it difficult for people to understand their legal rights. Texas attorney Alfredo Lozano, a board-certified expert in U.S. immigration law, helps his clients streamline confusing procedures with clarity, efficiency and compassion.
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The information in this blog post is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal advice on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting upon any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.