Last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the designation of Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months. A country may be designated for TPS when conditions in the country fall into one or more of the three statutory bases for designation:
- ongoing armed conflict,
- environmental disasters, or
- extraordinary and temporary conditions.
According to the DHS press release,
This designation is based on both ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in Ukraine that prevent Ukrainian nationals, and those of no nationality who last habitually resided in Ukraine, from returning to Ukraine safely.
Who is eligible to apply?
In order to qualify for TPS from Ukraine, an individual must:
- Be a national of Ukraine (or if stateless, have last habitually resided in Ukraine);
- Be continuously physically present in the United States since March 1, 2022;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since March 1, 2022;
- Not have been convicted of a felony or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States; and
- Not be barred from asylum for persecuting an individual, inciting terrorist activity, or other violations; or be found inadmissible under immigration rules for other criminal or national security reasons.
How do you apply for TPS and what do you receive?
TPS is not automatic. Individuals must submit an application to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) with a filing fee and required proof. USCIS has not yet announced the application procedures for TPS from Ukraine but you can have a look at USCIS’ TPS page to get an idea what they might require based on what they require for TPS from other countries.
An individual’s immigration status at the time of application for TPS has no effect on their eligibility, nor does the previous issuance of an order of removal. If USCIS grants TPS to an individual, that person receives a temporary stay of deportation and temporary authorization to work in the United States. TPS beneficiaries are also eligible for advance parole, which provides permission to travel abroad and return to the United States, but they must apply for it separately. TPS beneficiaries are not eligible for any public assistance in the United States.
According to the American Immigration Council, there are approximately 34,000 people in the United States now who are eligible for TPS from Ukraine so this designation of TPS will help a lot of people.
I will post the application procedures when USCIS publishes them. In the meantime, if you have any questions or wish to look into other immigration options, please feel free to contact me.