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Biden Administration Designates Venezuela for TPS

Published on 3.10.2021

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has designated Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for an initial period of 18 months, beginning March 9, 2021.

What is TPS?

A Temporary Protected Status designation is an official acknowledgment by the U.S. government that a particular country is experiencing extraordinary and temporary conditions that prevent its nationals from returning home safely.  The law allows TPS designations to be issued for countries that fall in one of three categories: ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or extraordinary and temporary conditions.

Once the U.S. government formally designates a country for TPS, eligible nationals from that country who are present in the U.S. at the time of the designation may file an application with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to obtain TPS and work authorization.  This is a temporary benefit that is only valid for the duration of the designation, typically 18 months.

The TPS designation may be extended, depending on the foreign country’s progress to recover from the conflict, environmental disaster, or extraordinary conditions.  Currently, there are several countries designated for TPS, including Nepal (designated in 2015 due to a devastating tsunami); Honduras and Nicaragua (designated in 1999 due to Hurricane Mitch); El Salvador (designated in 2001 due to severe earthquakes); Somalia (designated in 1991 due to civil war); Syria (designated in 2012 due to civil war); and others.

What is the TPS registration period for Venezuelans?

For Venezuelans, the initial TPS registration period is March 9, 2021 – September 5, 2021.  Eligible Venezuelans must submit their applications to USCIS during this period in order to remain eligible.  If approved, the TPS and related work authorization would be valid until September 9, 2022, subject to extension and re-registration if DHS redesignates Venezuela for TPS again at the end of the 18-month period.

Who is eligible for TPS?

To qualify for TPS, an individual must:

  • be a national of a country designated for TPS, or a person without nationality who last habitually resided in the designated country;
  • file during the open initial registration or re-registration period (with some limited exceptions);
  • show continuous physical presence (CPP) in the United States since the effective date of the most recent designation date of the country or nationality; and
  • show continuous residence (CR) in the United States since the date specified for the country or nationality.

Even if a person meets the four elements above, they can still be disqualified from TPS if they:

  • have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors committed in the U.S;
  • are inadmissible as an immigrant under applicable grounds in INA section 212(a), including non-waivable criminal and security-related grounds;
  • are subject to any of the mandatory bars to asylum due to prior persecution of another individual or engaging in or inciting terrorist activity (among others); or
  • fail to re-register on time, without good cause, during any period of re-registration.

If you would like to discuss your eligibility for TPS and how to apply, or if you have any other immigration-related question, contact Attorney Raluca (Luca) Vais-Ottosen at rvo@dewittllp.com or (608) 252-9291.

 

About the Author

Raluca Vais-Ottosen has assisted numerous clients with Immigration matters ranging from family-based and individual Immigration applications, to employment related visas and I-9 employment eligibility verification issues. In addition to her Immigration practice, she also has an extensive background in Employment Law. She assists companies in a number of areas, including but not limited to claims of workplace discrimination, harassment and retaliation, termination and constructive discharge, workplace investigations by State and Federal agencies, as well as Employment Litigation.

Contact Luca by email or by phone at (608) 252-9291.

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