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 lawyer for immigration and founder of The Lozano Law Firm PLLC with offices in San Antonio, San Angelo, and Eagle Pass, Texas, clarifies this confusing topic.
On March 8, 2021, Alejandro Mayorkas, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary, designated citizens of Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the United States from March 9, 2021, through September 2022.
The DHS has decided to grant Venezuelans TPS coverage due to the grave economic crisis in their home country, social instability under the disputed regime of Nicolas Maduro, and inadequate health coverage following uncontrolled COVID-19 transmission.
What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?
TPS is a temporary immigration status that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) may grant foreign nationals currently residing in the U.S. if they come from TPS-designated countries. A specific country will usually receive a TPS designation because of circumstances like wars, civil riots, 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 the TPS status is temporary, the USCIS may choose to extend it, depending on the circumstances of the specific country. Therefore, the DHS Secretary should announce a TPS extension or termination at least 60 days before the expiration of the current period.
Foreigners with Temporary Protected Status enjoy several significant benefits, including:
- Protection from deportation and detainment based on the 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 are residing
TPS designation can allow hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans to reside and work in the United States legally. Please note, however, that TPS doesn’t grant any permanent immigration status like residency or citizenship.
Who is Eligible for TPS?
To qualify for TPS, an individual must:.
- Be a national of a country that USCIS designated for TPS, like Venezuela
- File their TPS application within the registration period (or present valid reasons for late filing)
- Prove continuous presence in the United States from a designated date
Who Doesn’t Qualify for TPS
The USCIS will typically refuse TPS status if the applicant:
- Has a criminal record that includes a felony or at least two misdemeanors
- Has participated in or incited terrorist activity
- Has not proven continuous presence in the U.S. beginning from the specified date
- Has otherwise failed to meet USCIS requirements
How to Apply for TPS
Venezuelans residing in the U.S. should 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 that TPS applicants should file include:
- Form I-821: Application for Temporary Protected Status
- Form I-765: Request for Employment Authorization
- Identity and Nationality Evidence: copies of official documents like passports, birth certificates, or naturalization certificates
- Date of Entry Evidence: arrival and departure records and a passport copy
- 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 a Lawyer for Immigration Can Help with Applying for TPS
Although applying for TPS can be pretty straightforward, an individual case may encounter difficulties if the applicant can’t provide the required documentation.
For example, foreign residents may have no valid national identity documents if they left their country during a crisis and a consular process was or is currently unavailable. In these cases, the 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 file additional documents such as Form I-601 (Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility) if they have a record of criminal activity or prior deportation.
USCIS may deny TPS status simply because the applicant didn’t 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 any necessary forms correctly to ensure that you have the best possible chance of acquiring TPS status.
The Lozano Law Firm, PLLC: Immigration Lawyer Near Me in Texas
At The Lozano Law Firm, PLLC, we are proud of helping families and corporations through the immigration maze. We believe that immigrants are really good for our country, and we will make every effort 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 an exhausting bureaucratic system that makes it hard 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 (“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 the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.