On March 8, 2021, the Biden Administration announced the designation of Venezuelans in the U.S as foreign nationals who may qualify for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This was in response to the dire humanitarian conditions in the country. This 18-month program prevents the deportation of Venezuelans living in the U.S without proper documentation back to their country of origin. However, it is important to understand that TPS comes with its share of eligibility requirements that you will be required to meet to qualify.
First, what is TPS?
As the name indicates, TPS is a temporary immigration status. The designation was created by Congress as part of the 1990 Immigration Act. TPS allows nationals from the designated countries to reside temporarily in the U.S while their home countries deal with extraordinary, temporary situations like an armed conflict, humanitarian or environmental disaster. Currently, approximately 323,000 Venezuelans in the U.S are eligible for TPS.
Are you eligible for TPS for Venezuelans?
Any Venezuelan national, or individual without nationality whose last country of residence was Venezuela, may be eligible for TPS. To apply, you must prove that you have continuously resided in the U.S as of March 8, 2021. Eligible individuals have a 180-day period, from March 9, 2021, to September 5, 2021, to make their TPS application by duly submitting Form I-821 to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. While there is a fee for this application, you may consider applying for a waiver by accompanying your application with form I-912.
Upon submitting your TPS application, you will be required to undergo security and background checks to ascertain eligibility. During the TPS application process, you may also apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by submitting form I-765. However, this is not mandatory and you may apply for it at a later date.
TPS does not automatically lead to permanent residence of citizenship. However, it is a viable path to either for qualified individuals. And while the eligibility requirements are standard for all Venezuelans, each case is treated independently. As such, it is prudent that you engage the services of a qualified immigration attorney to help you ascertain your credibility and submit your application in a timely manner.