TPS and Venezuela:  Who can apply?

TPS and Venezuela: Who can apply?

On March 8th 2021, the United States Department of Homeland Security announced that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is now available to Venezuelans for 18 months. This will be effective March 9, 2021 through September 9, 2022.  

TPS can also help Venezuelans who have something called Deferred Enforced Departure.  Therefore, Immigration encourages Venezuelans who have Deferred Enforced Departure to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) as well.

If you apply for TPS, you may not need to apply for a second work permit. 

What is Temporary Protected Status?

Temporary Protected Status, commonly called TPS, is a status that Immigration can give to people who cannot return to their home countries because it is not safe. This may be because of civil strife or natural disaster.  

As you can tell from its name, Temporary Protected Status is temporary. The government can end TPS if it thinks that it is safe for people to  return to their  home country.  

Even though TPS helps people stay in the United States, it does NOT lead to lawful permanent residence.

Do Venezuelans Qualify?

Yes. Immigration stated that Venezuelans may now ask for TPS due to the Venezuelan government’s current political crisis, inability to provide basic services and healthcare, food insecurity, violent crime, and lack of respect for human rights.

How can TPS help me?

As long as they continue to meet requirements during the designation period, people who receive TPS: 

  • can stay in the United States; 
  • may not be removed, and; 
  • are allowed to obtain an Employment Authorization Documents (EAD), or work permit 

In Wisconsin, you can also get a Social Security card and a driver’s license with TPS.

Immigration may also allow TPS recipients to apply for travel authorization in some cases.  When returning from authorized travel, you would keep the same immigration status you had before traveling.  This is helpful because if you qualify for lawful permanent residency, having a lawful entry may make that process much easier.

Who is eligible for TPS?

To qualify for TPS:

  1. You must be a citizen or national of Venezuela. Or you must have no nationality, but your last habitual residence was in Venezuela.
  2. You need to have continuously resided in the United States since March 8, 2021.
  3. You must have been physically present in the United States since March 9, 2021.

Please note: if you have any criminal arrests, make sure you work with a good immigration attorney before you apply for TPS.  Some criminal convictions will make you ineligible for TPS. Additionally, some criminal convictions may make you deportable.

How do you apply?

First, you must submit an Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821) and pay the filing fee. If you qualify, you should submit a Request for a Fee Waiver (Form I-912), though you may still be required to pay the biometric services fee.

Although not required to do so, if you want to obtain an EAD valid through September 7, 2021, you must file an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) and pay the fee. A fee waiver is also available for the work permit.

If you do not want to request an EAD now, you can wait until you are ready. You can file Form I-765 and pay the fee (or request a fee waiver) as long as you still have TPS or a pending TPS application.

When can you apply?

You can apply now.  However, you must file in the 180-day initial registration period that runs from March 9, 2021 through September 5, 2021.

What are the fees?

The first time you apply for TPS, there is a $50.00 filing fee and another $85.00 biometrics fee.  

If you also want a work permit, there is a fee of $420 for those between 14 and 66 years of age.  If you are older or younger there is no additional fee for the work permit.  You can ask for a fee waiver if you are at or below $150% of the federal poverty level.  

You might want a work permit even if you do not plan to work because it will allow you to get a Social Security Number (SSN). 

What happens when TPS ends?

If TPS ends or if you do not renew it, you return to the immigration status you had before getting Temporary Protected Status. For example, if you had no immigration status before you had TPS, you would then go back to having no immigration status.

Last updated: 05-21-2021

Immigration law is always changing. We will do our best to keep our website as up-to-date as possible, but the latest information might be more readily available at USCIS.gov. These pages were written to help you better understand your legal options, however, none of the information published by Catholic Charities Milwaukee should be considered legal advice. If you plan to open your own immigration case, hire an immigration attorney to consult you personally.