Extension & Redesignation of Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status: A Guide
Oct 2, 2023
A Ray of Hope for Venezuelan Nationals
In the realm of U.S. immigration, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) serves as a beacon of hope for individuals unable to safely return to their home countries. Recently, Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced an 18-month extension and redesignation of Venezuela for TPS. This blog post aims to unpack the implications of this pivotal decision.
The Basics: What is Temporary Protected Status?
Temporary Protected Status provides individuals already present in the United States with protection from removal when extraordinary and temporary conditions make it unsafe for them to return to their home country. In the case of Venezuela, the country's increased instability and lack of safety due to humanitarian, security, political, and environmental conditions have led to this redesignation.
What's New: The Extension and Redesignation
Secretary Mayorkas' announcement means that eligible Venezuelan nationals present in the U.S. before July 31, 2023, will be granted temporary protection from removal and employment authorization. The extension and redesignation last for 18 months and are based on the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.
Eligibility Criteria: Who Can Apply?
To apply for TPS under this redesignation, you must demonstrate that you are a Venezuelan national (or an individual without nationality who last habitually resided in Venezuela) and have been continuously residing in the United States since July 31, 2023. There are additional eligibility criteria, which will be specified in a forthcoming Federal Register notice.
Pending Applications: What Happens Now?
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will continue to process pending applications filed under the previous TPS designation for Venezuela. If you have a pending Form I-821 or a related Form I-765, you do not need to refile.
The Numbers: Current and Potential Beneficiaries
Currently, there are approximately 242,700 TPS beneficiaries under Venezuela's existing TPS designation. With the redesignation, an additional approximately 472,000 nationals of Venezuela may become eligible.
The Legal Fine Print: Federal Register Notice
The Federal Register notice will provide crucial information about eligibility criteria, timelines, and procedures for both current beneficiaries to re-register and renew Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), and for new applicants to submit an initial application.
Travel Authorization: Can You Leave and Return?
Applicants can also apply for TPS-related travel authorization, a feature that allows beneficiaries to travel outside the U.S. temporarily and return without jeopardizing their TPS status.
Common Questions and Misconceptions
Many people wonder if arriving after July 31, 2023, makes them eligible for TPS. According to Secretary Mayorkas, those who arrived after this date are not eligible for TPS and will be removed if found to have no legal basis to stay.
Conclusion: Navigating the Road Ahead
The extension and redesignation of Venezuela for TPS offer a lifeline to many Venezuelan nationals currently residing in the U.S. While the pathway may seem complex, proper understanding and preparation can make all the difference.