It has been a heartbreaking week, and the world has been on edge watching the war in Ukraine unfold on our phones and news sources. Like many in the United States you may have been wondering whether the U.S. will open its doors to Ukrainians as war refugees, or in some other capacity. While that has yet to be announced, the Biden Administration did announce yesterday that Ukrainian nationals in the U.S. as of March 1, 2022 will be allowed to stay in the country, under Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
TPS is a temporary status that basically ensures those already in the U.S. have a country to remain in while their home country is in turmoil. TPS does not lead to permanent resident status (unless adjustment of status is granted on an immigration petition). Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced on March 3, 2022 the designation of Ukraine for TPS for 18 months. At the close of that time the U.S. government can decide whether to end the status or to renew it.
Am I Eligible for Temporary Protected Status?
- Have you been continuously residing in the United States before or since March 1, 2022?
- If the answer is yes, you are likely eligible for TPS.
What Could Disqualify Me from Temporary Protected Status?
Criminal history and other grounds could disqualify one for TPS including:
- Two misdemeanor convictions or one felony conviction.
- Inadmissibility under the Immigration and Nationality Act, such as criminal activity, controlled substance violations, immigration fraud or terrorist and national security related grounds.
- Any mandatory bars that apply to asylum, such as firm resettlement in a third country.
If you have criminal convictions or believe that one of the other grounds might apply to your case, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
What Benefit will Temporary Protected Status Give Me?
TPS beneficiaries, or people who are found preliminarily eligible for TPS:
- Are not removable from the United States;
- Can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD); and
- May be granted travel authorization.
Once granted TPS, an individual also cannot be detained by the Department of Homeland Security on the basis of his or her immigration status in the United States.
Important Things to Know for Applying:
- This TPS designation only applies to those Ukrainian nationals who were already living in the United States as of March 1, 2022.
- The designation will last for 18 months, and will be effective upon the Federal Register Notice being published (which has not happened yet).
- When applying through USCIS you will need:
- Evidence to prove your identity and nationality;
- Evidence to prove your date of entry into the United States;
- Evidence to prove your residence in the United States; and
- Court disposition records (if you were ever arrested, charged, or convicted for a criminal offense).
- TPS is not an automatic status. If you feel you are eligible for TPS you will need to apply for it.
If you have questions about how you or a loved one can apply for TPS please reach out to us at (757) 422-8472, or send us a message on our website. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by clicking on this link.