What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?
The Secretary of Homeland Security designates a foreign country for TPS when conditions in the country temporarily prevent country nationals from returning safely or in certain circumstances or where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. Once the Secretary of Homeland Security designates a foreign country for TPS, an announcement is published in the Federal Registry setting forth the eligibility requirements and procedures. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) grants TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries who are already in the United States. The U.S. government announced on March 3, 2022, that Ukraine would be designated for TPS. The official announcement was published in the Federal Register on April 19, 2022 and a copy is available here: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/04/19/2022-08390/designation-of-ukraine-for-temporary-protected-status. USCIS is now accepting applications for TPS from Ukrainian nationals.
People who are not in valid immigration status may be eligible to file for TPS. People who are in valid B2 status may be eligible to apply for TPS. People who entered the United States on humanitarian parole may be eligible to file for TPS. Consult with an attorney regarding questions about TPS eligibility.
1. Ukrainian national
2. File during the initial registration period of April 19, 2022 to October 19, 2023
3. Must have been continuously physically present in the United States since April 11, 2022
Selected Bars to Eligibility:
1. Convicted of a felony in the U.S., or
2. Convicted of 2 or more misdemeanors in the U.S. (traffic violations do not count), or
3. Committed a “particularly serious crime” in the U.S. or a serious crime, not politically motivated, outside the U.S. prior to arrival in the U.S.
4. Participated in any way in the persecution of any person on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group
5. Danger to national security of the U.S.
6. Reasonable grounds to believe the applicant is a terrorist
If you have any arrest history, talk to an immigration lawyer before filing for TPS.
Benefits of TPS
1. Work permit
2. Protection from deportation
3. Possibility of travel abroad on advance parole
4. If residing in New York, eligibility for Medicaid or subsidized insurance
Limitations of TPS
1. Not a path to green card and citizenship
3. If TPS application is denied, applicant could be placed in removal proceedings
1. Form I-821, Application for TPS
2. Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
3. Fee ($545 for most applicants) or Form I-912 Request for Fee waiver and supporting documentation
- Fee should be a check or money order
- If an applicant wants to request a fee waiver and was living in the United States during 2021, file 2021 tax return (even if working off the books) to demonstrate that income is below 150% of federal poverty line to qualify for fee waiver.
4. Evidence of nationality (i.e. passport, birth certificate with translation, national ID)
5. Evidence establishing continuous physical presence since April 11, 2022 (i.e. proof of arrival prior to 4/11/22)
6. Two passport-style photographs