Immigration & Naturalization Law

Venezuela TPS (Temporary Protected Status)

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a program that protects people who are in the United States and who come from certain countries considered dangerous. The U.S. announced temporary protection status for nationals of Venezuela who have resided in the U.S. to stay in the country for additional time.

Immigration law in the U.S. can be complicated and always changing. An experienced immigration attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options for immigration protections for people coming from Venezuela.

Temporary Protection Status for Venezuela

People covered by Temporary Protected Status (TPS) can legally live and work in the U.S. without the threat of deportation for the duration of the TPS status for their home country. In March 2021, under the Biden administration, Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of Homeland Security, added Venezuela to the list of countries with Temporary Protected Status for individuals residing in the U.S. The reason for TPS was that there were extraordinary conditions that prevented the safe return of Venezuelans to their country. In January 2021, deferred enforced departure (DED) was granted to Venezuelans, claiming that the regime of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro was responsible for a humanitarian crisis.

How Long is the TPS for Venezuela?

The TPS program for Venezuela was initially in effect until September 9, 2022. On September 8, 2022, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced an 18-month extension for the designation of Venezuela for TPS, effective September 10, 2022, through March 10, 2024. The TPS protections will last until this date, but the extension of TPS can be renewed. Check the federal register notice web page for updates on any renewals or changes.

Do I Automatically Qualify for TPS If I Am Venezuelan?

No. There are additional eligibility requirements to qualify for TPS, even if you are from Venezuela or a designated country, including:

  • Venezuelan national who last lived habitually in Venezuela;
  • Continuous residence in the United States since March 8, 2021; and
  • Continuous physical presence in the United States since March 9, 2021.

Additionally, you may be ineligible for protected immigration status if you do not qualify because of criminal offenses or human rights violations. If you meet these requirements, you must register with USCIS. If you have questions about qualifying for protected status, talk to an immigration attorney about your options.

When Should I Register for TPS?

The period for Venezuelan nationals to register for TPS runs from March 9 to September 5, 2021. If you do not register before that date, you can still apply. However, you must include a letter explaining why you did not submit your request by the deadline.

TPS beneficiaries who have already registered and want to extend their status must re-register. The TPS re-registration period runs from September 8, 2022, through November 7, 2022. Failure to re-register can result in a gap in your Employment Authorization Documents (EADs). After re-registering, USCIS will issue new EADs with a March 10, 2024, expiration date under Venezuela’s TPS designation.

How Do I Apply for Venezuelan TPS?

To register, complete Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. The cost to submit this form is $ 135 for those over 14 years old and $ 50 for those under 14 years old. If you want to work in the U.S. during the TPS period, complete Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. The work authorization form costs $ 410.

If you want to be considered for a fee waiver for any of the above forms, you can submit Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver. Generally, USCIS will only grant this request if your income is less than 150% of the federal poverty line.

In addition, you must present the following evidence:

  • Evidence of identity and nationality: This can include a passport or a birth certificate accompanied by an identity document with your photograph.
  • Entry date: This can be verified by the stamp on your passport upon entering the United States.
  • Continuous residence in the United States: This can be shown with documents such as rent receipts, utility bills, academic records, or statements from people who know you.

A certified translation must accompany documents that are not in English. Once USCIS receives your petition, it will notify you of your case number. With your case number, you can check the status of your case online. If USCIS needs your biometrics (photograph, signature, or fingerprints), it will send you a notice to go to an immigration office to obtain this information. Finally, USCIS will decide on your TPS application and the other forms you have submitted.

If USCIS determines that you need more information to resolve your case, it will send you a letter asking for additional evidence. If you are denied TPS protections, you have 30 days to appeal from when you receive the denial notice.

Can I Appeal a TPS Decision?

Appeals are resolved by the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). The appeal must be submitted using an official Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, and costs $675 (or you can request a fee waiver). To avoid a denial and higher costs of an appeal, an experienced TPS attorney can help your case and act as an advocate to allow you to stay in the country.

Can I Apply for a Green Card or Asylum Under TPS?

The TPS could end at any moment. If you want to obtain a more secure legal status and seek a path to citizenship, you may want to consider other immigration options. Other paths to legal status in the U.S. include asylum and lawful permanent resident status (green card).

Can I Travel Outside the United States Under TPS?

TPS holders must request a travel authorization to travel outside the U.S. A travel authorization gives you permission to leave and return to the United States within a specified period. If you travel without this authorization, you could lose TPS protections and be denied entry to the United States. If you have been in the country illegally, USCIS recommends you consult an attorney for legal advice before requesting a travel permit.

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