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USCIS Designates Venezuela for Temporary Status for 18 Months!

On March 8, 2021, the Biden administration announced that Homeland Security has designated Venezuela for Temporary Protective Status for 18 months. This allows Venezuelan nationals to apply for this temporary status as well as work authorization until September 2022.

According to the Biden administration, this new TPS designation is due to extraordinary conditions of complex humanitarian crisis, widespread hunger and malnutrition, and a crumbling infrastructure in Venezuela that prevent nationals from returning to their home country.

To be eligible to apply for TPS under Venezuela’s designation, an individual must demonstrate that they have continuously resided in the United States as of March 8, 2021. They must also file the TPS application during the initial registration period which starts on March 9, 20201 and ends on September 5, 2021. It is very important that a first-time applicant files during this designation period, if not, they may lose the opportunity to renew their TPS if and when the government extends the TPS designation.

An initial first-time applicant must submit a $50 application fee. If you are older than 14 years old, you must also pay a biometrics fee of $85. If you are seeking an Employment Authorization Card with your TPS application, you will have to pay an additional $410 filing fee (totaling $545).

The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in that country that temporarily prevents the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. DHS may grant TPS to nationals of that country that are already in the United States. Individuals with no nationality but who last resided in the designated country will also qualify.

The Secretary may designate a country for TPS if the country is experiencing the following temporary conditions: ongoing armed conflict such as civil war, an environmental disaster such as earthquake, hurricane, or epidemic, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. During the designation period, TPS recipients are not removable from the United States, they can maintain an employment authorization document (EAD, and they be granted travel authorization). Additionally, once an individual has TPS, they cannot be detained by an immigration officer solely because of their immigration status in the United States.

You will not be eligible for TPS or you may lose your TPS if you:

- Have been convicted for any felony or two or more misdemeanors in the United States;

- Are found inadmissible under immigration laws;

- You have participated in the persecution of another individual or engaged in terrorist activity;

- Failed to meet the continuous physical presence and continuous residence in the United States requirement;

- Failed to meet the initial or late initial TPS registration requirements; or

- If TPS is granted, you failed to re-register for TPS, as required, without a good cause.

TPS is a temporary status that currently does not lead to being granted a green card. Please keep in mind that you can still apply for other immigration benefits if you are eligible. It is important to speak with a licensed immigration attorney.

Patricia Elizee is the managing partner of Elizee Law Firm. The firm focuses on immigration and family law cases. Attorney Elizee can be reached at phone- 305-371-8846. Elizee Law Firm is located at 1110 Brickell Avenue, Suite 315, Miami, Florida 33131.


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