Free Immigration Legal Aid for Venezuelan TPS

What is Venezuelan TPS: Frequently Asked Questions

In response to Venezuela's humanitarian, security, political, and environmental conditions that prevent its nationals from safely returning to their country, the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas, announced on September 20, 2023, the redesignation and extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuela for 18 months. This redesignation allows both existing beneficiaries and eligible new applicants to apply for or retain TPS. 

What is TPS? 

Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, is temporary immigration status granted by the Secretary of Homeland Security to eligible foreign nationals present in the U.S., who cannot safely return to their country due to ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, epidemic, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. TPS provides temporary protection from deportation and eligibility for work authorization in the U.S. during the designated period. It is important to note that TPS does not lead to permanent resident status or citizenship. 

What is TPS for Venezuela? 

On September 20, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security announced the redesignation and extension of Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months.  

  • For existing Venezuelan TPS holders, present in the U.S before July 31, 2023, this redesignation provides continued temporary protection from deportation, as well as employment authorization.  This extension gives existing beneficiaries TPS through September 10, 2025. 
  • For new Venezuelan TPS applicants, present in the U.S. as of July 31, 2023, this redesignation will provide approved TPS applicants protection from deportation and employment authorization through April 2, 2025. 

When do I apply for Venezuelan TPS? 

You can apply for Venezuelan TPS during the registration period determined by USCIS. 

  • For new first-time Venezuelan TPS applicants, the application period begins on October 3, 2023, and will remain in effect for 18 months, ending on April 2, 2025.  
  • TPS holders under the Venezuela 2021 designation must have re-registered during the 60-day re-registration period that ran from Jan. 10, 2024, through March 10, 2024. 

What do I need to file for Venezuelan TPS? 

To file for TPS, applicants need to submit identity/nationality evidence, date of entry evidence, and continuous residence evidence. 

Examples include: 

  • Identity/Nationality: copy of your birth certificate, copy of your passport, and/or any national identity document that has your photograph. 
  • Date of Entry: copy of your passport, I-94 Arrival/Departure Record; or copies of documents specified in the Continuous Residence section below. 
  • Continuous Residence: leases, utility bills, medical records, mailed correspondence, letters from church/organization to confirm that they have been present in the U.S., etc. Continuous residence requirement starts on July 31, 2023 

All documents must include the appropriate dates and the name of the applicant. 

How long does Venezuelan TPS take to receive after filing? 

Processing times vary greatly. Venezuelan TPS applicants can typically expect to wait between 6 and 18 months. 

For the most up-to-date processing times please review the USCIS website. 

What are the benefits of Venezuelan TPS 

  • Individuals granted TPS are not removable from the United States and cannot be detained based on their immigration status. 
  • TPS recipients can obtain employment authorization (EAD.) and legally work in the United States 
  • TPS recipients may apply for travel authorization and be granted travel authorization without jeopardizing their TPS status.  

Can I travel on Venezuelan TPS? 

You may be granted travel authorization if you have a pending TPS case, or you have been granted TPS. To request travel authorization, TPS applicants and holders must file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, while in the U.S. If your request to travel is granted, you will be issued a travel document. 

How do I keep my Venezuelan TPS status?  

Once you are granted TPS, you must re-register during the designated re-registration period to maintain your status. This means you will complete and file the Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status form during the re-registration period. 

TPS holders under the Venezuela 2021 redesignation must have re-registered during the 60-day re-registration period that ran from Jan. 10, 2024, through March 10, 2024.  

Venezuelan TPS holders must also continue to show both continuous residence and continuous physical presence in the United States. 

Can I receive public benefits if I have TPS? 

You are not eligible for public benefits as a TPS beneficiary, but you may receive public benefits if you maintain parole status while on TPS. 

Can I go to school while on TPS? 

Yes, TPS beneficiaries can attend colleges and universities while in the U.S. If, however, your TPS status ends while you’re in school, you will need another status (like a student visa) to continue your program. 

Is TPS permanent status?  

TPS does not provide permanent status and does not lead to lawful permanent residency or citizenship. However, it is renewable until the Department of Homeland Security terminates the TPS designation for your country. 

How can I get permanent status? 

To get permanent status, you will need to qualify and apply for a method of relief, such as asylum or a family petition. TPS does not prevent you from applying for other statuses and you may be able to apply for separate immigration statuses that can be used as a “backup status.”

Can I ever lose TPS status?  

Yes, there are several circumstances under which you could lose your Temporary Protected Status (TPS). If you travel abroad without receiving travel authorization, you could lose your TPS status. Similarly, if you fail to re-register during the re-registration window, you could also lose status. If the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) decides to terminate TPS for your country, your status will end. 

I already have work authorization. Should I apply for TPS? 

Under TPS, individuals are allowed to apply for separate immigration statuses that can be used as a “backup status.” TPS will only end if DHS stops extending the program to your country, so it is typically renewable for many years. If you have TPS as a “backup status” and something happens to your other status that provides your work authorization, you won’t be removable and will remain in lawful status. 

What happens if my TPS application is not processed before my current TPS status expires? 

While your TPS application is pending, you will not accrue unlawful status. Once your TPS is approved, you will be authorized to work. 

If I am granted TPS, when do I need to renew my TPS status?  

Once you receive your TPS approval notice, there will be an expiration date that indicates when you must renew. NSLAC recommends you file your renewal at least 6 months before the expiration date. 

What if I have other questions? 

This FAQ guide is meant to provide general information. We recommend speaking with a qualified immigration attorney about your options. 

Can NSLAC help me apply for Venezuelan TPS? 

Yes. Providing access to legal assistance to all communities is our priority. NSLAC hosts free TPS clinics regularly and in a variety of accessible locations, ensuring that residents of north suburban Cook County and Lake County have convenient access to these vital legal services. If you or someone you know needs access to immigration legal aid, please be in touch with NSLAC at 847 737 4042 or email info@nslegalaid.org. NSLAC also provides free domestic violence legal aid and housing legal aid. Interpreters are available upon request in all languages. Services are available regardless of immigration status.  

Sources:  

“Federal Register :: Request Access.” Unblock.federalregister.gov, 3 Oct. 2023, www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/10/03/2023-21865/extension-and-redesignation-of-venezuela-for-temporary-protected-status. 

“Secretary Mayorkas Announces Extension and Redesignation of Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status | Homeland Security.” Www.dhs.gov, 20 Sept. 2023, www.dhs.gov/news/2023/09/20/secretary-mayorkas-announces-extension-and-redesignation-venezuela-temporary. 

“Temporary Protected Status Designated Country: Venezuela | USCIS.” Www.uscis.gov, 9 Mar. 2021, www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status/temporary-protected-status-designated-country-venezuela. 

“Temporary Protected Status for Venezuela - 2021 Extension and 2023 Re-Designation Frequently Asked Questions | USCIS.” Www.uscis.gov, 2 May 2024, www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status/venezuela/temporary-protected-status-for-venezuela-2021-extension-and-2023-re-designation-frequently-asked. Accessed 10 May 2024. 

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