TPS for Ukraine

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What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a humanitarian immigration program initiated by the United States government. The TPS program provides temporary lawful status and protection to individuals from certain countries facing armed conflict, war, disasters, or other conditions that prevent their safe return to their country. The primary purpose of TPS is to offer refugees and relief to foreign individuals who cannot return to their countries due to circumstances beyond their control. This program allows the individuals in question to live and work legally in the US until conditions are favorable in their home countries and a safe return is possible.

Over the years, the TPS program has provided safe residency to hundreds of thousands of individuals, facilitating the rebuilding of their lives in safety and dignity. However, individuals must know that the TPS program is temporary, and the beneficiaries must regularly apply for TPS extensions and meet eligibility requirements to maintain their protected status.

Why is there a need for TPS for Ukrainian citizens?

Since the full-scale war in Ukraine, thousands of innocent Ukrainians had to leave the country to save themselves from violence. Living a normal life in Ukraine is next to impossible due to Russian atrocities in Ukraine. Destruction of houses, schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure has made life miserable. Getting access to food and clothing has become difficult in Ukraine. Economic instability, unemployment, and inflation have made life hard in Ukraine.

Given these circumstances, a return back to Ukraine is unimaginable. Granting TPS to Ukrainian nationals is a vital humanitarian cause that provides them temporary relief and protection. TPS allows eligible individuals from Ukraine to remain in the US legally, shielding them from deportation. It also allows them to work and support themselves and their families. The United States can fulfill its commitment to supporting human rights and promoting stability and security to affected groups by providing temporary protection.

Eligibility Criteria for TPS for Ukrainians

The eligibility criteria for temporary protected status for Ukrainians are as follows: 

Citizenship and Nationality Requirements:

The individual in question must be a citizen of Ukraine to be eligible for TPS for Ukraine. They must hold Ukrainian citizenship or nationality.

Continuous Residence and Physical Presence:

The applicants for TPS must provide proof of continuous residence in the US since the effective date of TPS designation for Ukraine. Also, they must show continuous physical presence in the United States from a specified date.

Hosting Refugees and Offering Assistance

Other than the abovementioned eligibility factors, the US government also accounts for other factors. Other factors may include criminal history, security concerns, or other disqualifying factors. To learn about all the eligibility criteria in detail, please refer to these government websites where you can find up-to-date information on TPS eligibility:

tps for ukraine

Application Process for TPS for Ukrainians

The Temporary protected status (TPS) application process for Ukranians involves several steps. The steps are as follows:

Forms and Documentation Needed:

  • Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status: This is the primary application form for TPS and must be completed accurately and fully.
  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization(Optional): If the individual is seeking employment authorization in addition to TPS, they should also submit form I-765.
  • Supporting Documents: Applicants must provide documents such as identity, nationality, evidence of continuous residence, and physical presence in the United States. This includes documents like passports, citizenship, lease agreements, etc.

Filling Procedures and Deadlines:

  • File form I-821: Complete and submit the form I-821 and any required supporting documents to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • File Form I-765 (if applicable): If the applicant is seeking employment authorization, they should submit the I-765 along with the I-821 form.
  • Paying Filling Fees(If applicable): Some applicants may be required to pay a filing fee for Form I-821 and/or Form I-765. Fee waivers are also applicable to those who qualify.
  • Deadlines: Applicants must complete everything within the deadlines set by the USCIS

In case of any confusion, applicants can seek help from legal authorities to guide them throughout the application process.

Extensions and Renewals of TPS for Ukrainians

Extensions and renewals on TPS programs are granted and authorized by the US government. The TPS extension and renewal process involves reviewing the ongoing condition in Ukraine. There are certain criteria for TPS extensions:

Criteria for TPS extension:

  • Ongoing conditions in Ukraine: The Department of Homeland Security(DHS) continuously reviews the situation in Ukraine. The extension of TPS designation is dependent on such reviews. Factors like armed conflict, political instability, or environmental disasters are taken into consideration.
  • Continued need for protection: The Department of Homeland Security assesses whether the individuals from Ukraine still face unsafe conditions that prevent their safe return. The DHS evaluates the level of violence, human rights abuses, and other risks that hinder the safety of the individuals.
  • Compliance with TPS requirements: Any applicant seeking a TPS extension must demonstrate ongoing eligibility for TPS.

Process for TPS renewal:

  • Extension Announcement: When the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) decides that it is still unsafe for Ukrainian citizens to return, it announces this through a notice in the Federal Register. This notice tells people when their Temporary Protected Status (TPS) will be extended and how to renew it.
  • Re-registration Period: DHS sets a time for people already under TPS from Ukraine to renew their status. This period lasts a few months and is announced well before the current TPS end date.
  • Submitting Renewal Applications: People with TPS from Ukraine must complete Form I-821 and provide any needed documents and fees during the renewal period. If they want to keep working, they can also complete Form I-765 for employment authorization.
  • Meeting Deadlines: It’s important to send in renewal applications on time. If they’re late, people might lose their TPS status and benefits.
  • Employment Authorization Document (EAD): After approval, people get a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD) showing the extended TPS end date.

Benefits of TPS Designation

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation significantly benefits eligible individuals from designated countries like Ukraine, providing vital relief and protection. These benefits include safeguarding the individuals from deportation and granting work authorization. The individual can be financially stable and contribute to their families. Individuals get access to social services depending on state policies. Transportation in and out of the United States is also allowed (However, it’s crucial to consult immigration authorities before making international travel plans). With the TPS designation, the Ukrainian citizen can stay as long as their TPS is extended by the US government, and they can return back to their country after things are normal.

How Long is TPS Valid?

The current Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukraine, starting from August 21, 2023, extends until April 19, 2025, with a provision allowing the U.S. government to potentially extend it for another 18 months based on conditions in Ukraine. The extension announced by Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas (DHS) on August 21, 2023, spans from October 20, 2023, to April 19, 2025. These extensions aim to provide ongoing support and relief for individuals facing risks in returning home due to conflicts, natural disasters, or other destabilizing factors.

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