On March 3, 2022, President Biden announced the designation of Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which is granted for citizens whose home country is affected by war, disaster or other extreme conditions, making it unsafe to return.
The new designation will allow Ukrainians, who lack permanent status and were physically in the U.S. as of March 1, 2022, to temporarily live and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation. The designation will last for 18 months, after which the TPS status may expire or be extended, depending on the situation in Ukraine.
The Biden administration also announced that all deportation flights to Ukraine, Russia and seven other European countries have been suspended.
“Russia’s premeditated and unprovoked attack on Ukraine has resulted in an ongoing war, senseless violence, and Ukrainians are forced to seek refuge in other countries,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “In these extraordinary times, we will continue to offer our support and protection to Ukrainian nationals in the United States.”
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported that since the Russian invasion began on February 25th, over one million people had fled Ukraine – mostly into neighboring countries. It is estimated that a total of over four million people will flee as consequence of the ongoing conflict, and that many millions more will need humanitarian aid inside the country due to lack of electricity, water, food and shelter.
How do I apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?
Ukraine’s 18-month TPS designation will go into effect on the publication date of the upcoming Federal Register notice, which is expected in the coming weeks. TPS applicants must have been in the U.S. on March 1, 2022 and meet all eligibility requirements and undergo security and background checks.
To be eligible for TPS you must be a national of Ukraine or a person without nationality who last lived in Ukraine.
There are a number of reasons you may not be eligible for TPS, including if you have felony convictions or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States.
TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or give any other immigration status. However, registration for TPS does not prevent you from:
- Applying for non-immigrant status
- Filing for adjustment of status based on an immigrant petition
- Applying for any other immigration benefit or protection for which you may be eligible
Once granted TPS, an individual also cannot be detained by DHS on the basis of his or her immigration status in the United States.
If you are one of the estimated 75,000 eligible Ukrainians eligible for protection, you should contact your immigration lawyer at the earliest opportunity. They will be able to give you the best advice around eligibility and help you through the application process.
© Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC 2022. The above text is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.