TPS was granted to Nationals of Venezuela

We are happy that we now have a way to help Venezuelans who are in the U.S. but afraid to return to Venezuela. 

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a temporary immigration status given to eligible nationals of designated countries who are present in the United States. The status allows persons to live and work in the United States for specified limited times. If you have TPS, you are not undocumented, but you are also not a legal resident, a green card holder, or a U.S. citizen. It grants you legal protection for the designated time but is often repeatedly extended. While on TPS, you may qualify for legal residence through a petition by a close relative or by a prospective employer. With TPS, you may also apply for “Advance Parole” which allows you to travel out of the U.S. and return to TPS status.  

The reason that Venezuelans were granted TPS is that Venezuela is experiencing an extraordinary economic and political crisis. Representatives in the United Nations and the Organization of American States have called it a humanitarian crisis. The estimate of the United Nations Commission for Latin America is that the economy this year contracted by 30%. Those who disagree with the government in power also experience political repression. Crimes, including homicide, are climbing sharply.  Venezuelans have pouring out of the country. In the last 10 years, about 18% of the country’s population have fled for safety. I have seen estimates that there are about 300,000 Venezuelans living in the U.S. with most concentrated in South Florida. 

Many Venezuelans have dual citizenship with Spain or Italy and have asked if they are eligible for TPS. This is a tricky point of law but to simplify it – You can qualify if you have not “firmly resettled” in another country. This is something that requires a careful, individualized analysis. 

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas designated Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, effective March 9, 2021, through Sept. 9, 2022. Venezuelan nationals and individuals having no nationality who last habitually resided in Venezuela may submit an initial registration application under the designation for TPS for Venezuela during the 180-day registration period that begins March 9, 2021, and ends on Sept. 5, 2021, and apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). 

For Venezuelans to be eligible for TPS, you must:

  • Be a national of a Venezuela or a person without nationality who last habitually resided in Venezuela.
  • File during the initial registration period – March 9, 2021 through September 5, 2021
  • Have been continuously physically present in the United States since March 8, 2021; and
  • Have been continuously residing in the United States since March 9, 2021. The law allows an exception to the continuous physical presence and continuous residence requirements for brief, casual and innocent departures from the United States.

You may not be eligible for TPS if you:

  • Have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States;
  • Are found inadmissible as an immigrant under certain grounds including non-waivable criminal and security-related grounds;
  • Are subject to any of the mandatory bars to asylum. These include, but are not limited to, participating in the persecution of another individual or engaging in or inciting terrorist activity.

We are especially happy that our Venezuelan clients (and prospective clients) have this option that will allow them to legally remain in the U.S., obtain work permission and obtain permission to travel.

Linda M Kaplan