The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced an 18-month extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Venezuelans, along with a separate redesignation for TPS.
The redesignation is expected to allow approximately 472,000 additional Venezuelan nationals or individuals with no nationality who last resided in Venezuela to apply for TPS. They must have also continuously resided in the United States on or before July 31, 2023 to be eligible.
Here is what you need to know about the process and things to consider when registering:
- Venezuelans who have arrived in the United States on or before July 31, 2023, and were physically present before October 3rd can apply for TPS
- Eligible individuals can submit an initial application (Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status) from October 3, 2023, through April 2, 2025
- Those who have TPS can travel abroad through Advance Parole
- For individuals who entered the country without inspection can submit other documents as proof of arriving to the country before July 31, 2023
- Venezuelans previously granted TPS can register to extend their protected status until September 10, 2025
TPS is a humanitarian program established by the U.S. government that allows eligible foreign nationals to live and work legally for a specified period. TPS is granted to individuals from countries facing severe and temporary crises that make their return unsafe or practically impossible. These include armed conflict, natural disasters, and other extraordinary conditions.
The temporary status is granted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to individuals who show eligibility. However, the status does not equate to a path to a Green Card, nor does it allow for those eligible to petition for family members.
What does the extension and redesignation of TPS mean for Venezuelans?
Extension: it extended Venezuela 2021, which granted TPS to eligible Venezuelan nationals that had been in the United States on or before March 8, 2021, and had remained physically present in the country after March 9, 2021. In plain terms, it permits them to extend their TPS from March 11, 2024, to September 10, 2025.
They need to re-register and meet eligibility requirements within the 60-day re-registration period from January 10, 2024, through March 10, 2024.
Redesignation: Aside from the extension, DHS also redesignated TPS for Venezuelan nationals who have continuously resided in the United States on or before July 31, 2023, and have been continuously physically present in the country on or before October 3, 2023. This is known as Venezuela 2023.
Those approved under Venezuela 2023 will be granted TPS until September 10, 2025. The initial registration period for Venezuela 2023 TPS runs from October 3, 2023, through April 2, 2025, during which eligible individuals can submit their applications.
What are the benefits of TPS?
Once granted, TPS provides temporary relief from deportation along with the ability to apply for work authorization. Other benefits include being eligible to participate in certain social programs and apply for a driver’s license in states that do not have the Green Light Law, which enables undocumented immigrants to to apply for drivers’ licenses.
Venezuelans who receive TPS can also travel abroad. “They have to request travel authorization, which is called Advance Parole. Once they have that permission to travel, they can travel back to the [states],” said Rebecca Press, Senior Counsel at Central American Legal Assistance.
How and when to register for TPS
The U.S. government announced that eligible Venezuelans can register for TPS from Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023 until April 2, 2025. To be eligible, they must have been residing in the country on or before July 31st of this year. Those who arrive after this date are not eligible to register for the temporary status.
Applicants must gather all necessary documents, including proof of identity, nationality, and evidence of continuous residence and physical presence, before completing and submitting Form I-821: Application for Temporary Protected Status to USCIS.
How much does it cost to file for TPS?
The price depends on the person registering for TPS. The cost for applicants younger than 14 is $50. For individuals between 14 and 65 years of age, the cost can range from $134 to $545, depending if they are also asking for an employment authorization document. See all the full list of fees here.
Is there a fee waiver for the form I-821?
Yes. Press explained that individuals can file Form I-912 to request to waive their fee, based on their inability to pay.
What if I entered the country without inspection?
“There are different ways that people can prove that they were present in the country,” Press said, adding the following examples:
- Get a dated letter from a person you are living with or renting an apartment from. You can submit receipts from paying rent.
- If the TPS seekers have children enrolled in school, the parents can submit the school paperwork to show that they were present in the country.
- Health insurance registry can also be used as it is dated.
Press added that people should not feel discouraged when looking for proof of eligibility. “We don’t have to provide an overwhelming amount of proof, it just has to be a handful,” she said.