The surge of recent migrant arrivals from Central and South America to Lake County and Cook County has presented notable challenges, particularly as the demand for immigration legal aid continues to grow. Despite the challenges, NSLAC stands firm in its commitment to providing free legal services to low-income and at-risk individuals, and families. Thank you to the Chicago Tribune for shining a light on the challenges faced by our immigrant neighbors. Read the full story HERE.
TPS for Ukraine: Frequently Asked Questions
Free Legal Immigration Services
In response to Ukraine’s ongoing war with Russia and extraordinary conditions that prevent the safe return of tens of thousands of Ukrainians, the Department of Homeland Security has extended and redesignated Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This extension opens the door for an additional 166,700 Ukrainians to obtain work permits and protection against deportations. North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic provides free legal immigration services to residents of north suburban Cook County, IL, or Lake County, IL, looking to file TPS for Ukraine.
What is TPS?
Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, is designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security when the conditions of a foreign country temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely or where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. This may be because of ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster or epidemic, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions.
When do I apply for TPS?
You can apply for TPS during the registration period determined by USCIS.
For Ukraine, the registration period is August 21, 2023 to April 19, 2025.
How do I apply for TPS?
File Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status along with all necessary evidence and fees (or fee waiver form) with USCIS. The filing can either be done online or through the mail. If you also want to apply for employment authorization, you will need to file form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization with the necessary evidence and fees (or fee waiver form). The forms, breakdown of fees, instructions for mailing, and other information can be found at https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status.
Can I file one TPS I-821 form for my entire family?
No, each person who qualifies for TPS must submit a separate Form I-821. This includes minor children and spouses.
What do I need to file for TPS?
You need identity/nationality evidence, date of entry evidence, and continuous residence evidence.
- Identity/Nationality: copy of your passport, copy of your birth certificate, 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.
These must include the appropriate dates and the name of the applicant.
Continuous residence requirement starts on August 16, 2023.
How long does TPS take to receive after filing?
Processing times vary greatly depending on country of origin and backlog. You can typically expect to wait between 6 and 18 months.
What are the benefits of TPS?
- You are not removable from the United States and cannot be detained based on your immigration status.
- You can obtain employment authorization (EAD.)
- You may be granted travel authorization.
Can I travel overseas?
You may be granted travel authorization whether you have a pending TPS case, or you have been granted TPS. You 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.
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?
It is not a permanent status and does not lead to lawful permanent residency or citizenship. It is, however, 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.
How do I maintain TPS status?
Once you are granted TPS, you must re-register during each 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.
Can I ever lose TPS status?
If you travel abroad without receiving travel authorization, you could lose your TPS status. Additionally, if you fail to re-register during the re-registration window, you could also lose status. Lastly, if DHS terminates the program for your country, your status will end.
I already have work authorization. Should I apply for TPS?
Because you can apply for TPS while you have another status, it 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 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?
On your TPS approval notice, there will be an expiration date that indicates when you need to renew. We recommend you file your renewal at least 6 months prior to 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 TPS?
Yes. Making legal assistance accessible to all communities is our priority. NSLAC hosts 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 services. If you or someone you know needs legal assistance, please be in touch with NSLAC at 847 737 4042 or email email@example.com. NSLAC also offers free legal services in the areas of housing and domestic violence. Interpreters are available upon request in all languages. Services are available regardless of immigration status.
Dreamers, their families, and the advocates concerned for their protection are grateful for DACA, but they are concerned for their future in the US. NSLAC Staff Attorney Irma Wilson joined WTTW – Chicago PBS for an important conversation about DACA. Read more about this update here.
Highland Park, IL – April 21, 2020 – The North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic (the Clinic) stands in support of the immigrant community and has issued the following statement with regard to the recent proposed Presidential executive order related to immigration policy:
“We are disappointed to learn about President Trump’s proposed executive order to halt immigration during the COVID-19 crisis. An estimated* 6 million immigrant workers (a figure that does not take into account legal status) are in jobs on the front lines of coronavirus response, while another 6 million are in industries hardest hit by the pandemic. In normal times, undocumented labor is a pillar of the U.S. economy. These are our essential workers and our neighbors.
It is unclear how the White House will suspend immigration, how long a suspension could last, or how this will impact individuals who already hold green cards and are in the process of becoming U.S. citizens. The North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic will continue to monitor the situation and do whatever we can to assist individuals and families in need of legal assistance during this already difficult time.”