Venezuelan TPS has Been Announced

What is TPS?

The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS because of dangerous or disastrous conditions due to for example political unrest or natural disasters in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. TPS may be granted to eligible nationals of certain countries who are already in the United Sates. TPS it is not a law that passes.  It’s typically issued by the Department of Homeland Security and then published in the Federal Regulations.

 

Who designates the countries?

The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has the authority to decide when a country is eligible or needs TPS designation for its citizens and how long the period will be. The Secretary of Homeland Security must also consult with other government agencies to determine eligibility. Government agencies are not specified but they typically involve the Department of State, the National Security Council and sometimes the Department of Justice.

There are currently several countries designated for TPS and we are happy to see Venezuela added to the list of designated countries. TPS for other countries such as Haiti, El Salvador, Syria and Yemen have been renewed constantly, keeping their TPS designation for more than 10 years. This is why we should consider the importance of registering for TPS.

Venezuela’s designation for TPS comes after many years of lobbying and hard work by members of the community, including Nayef Mubarak and AILA, to get TPS for Venezuelans.

TPS For Venezuelans – Requirements

  1. Must be a Venezuelan National or a stateless person last residing in Venezuela.
  2. Have continuous residence in the U.S. since March 8, 2021.
  3. Have been continuously physically present in the United States since March 9, 2021
  4. Must file during the open initial registration period: March 9, 2021 – September 5, 2021

 

  1. Venezuelan National or a Stateless Person:
    Many Venezuelans are also citizens of Italy, Spain, Colombia and other countries. If you have multinational status you can still qualify. It would depend on which was your last residence. For example, some Venezuelans came in on an Italian passport and are in the United States on an E-2 visa, or maybe they are here as students and their parents have an E-2 visa. Just because they entered the U.S. on the Italian passport does not make them ineligible. They are still Venezuelan nationals. We would want to demonstrate that they were last residing in Venezuela before arriving at the US.

    What is a Stateless Person?
    A stateless person is someone who, under national laws, does not enjoy citizenship in any country. Some people are legally stateless (they are not recognized as citizens under the laws of any state). Many people are de facto, or effectively stateless (they are not recognized as citizens under the laws of any state even if they have a claim to citizenship under the laws of one or more states). The question is if there was a firm resettlement in a different country before moving to the U.S.


  2. Continuous residence in the U.S.
    This simply means that at some point in time, prior to the announcement of TPS for Venezuelans on March 8, you were living here. People who got to the Unites States that same day before the announcement might qualify.

    How to Demonstrate Continuous Residence?
    We need to show evidence that the applicant has been in the U.S. the entire time since his/her last entry. To do this we use evidence such as:

    • Proof of last entry
    • Leases
    • Current status
    • Bank accounts

    What if there is a break in continuous residence?
    The applicant may still qualify depending on the nature and the length of the trip. If the break is less than 90 days, we may be able to overcome this interruption but the reason for the travel will need to be addressed too. If you have this type of complications, we strongly suggest you speak to an immigration attorney before submitting your TPS application.

  3. Continuous physical presence in the United States
    This requirement may disqualify those who were in the US before but that took a trip on tourist visa for example and were not here on March 9th, 2021.

  4. Initial Registration
    The open initial registration is critical. if you do not register within this period, from March 9th to September 5th, 2021, you could lose the opportunity for TPS forever unless it's redesignated. The only way to re-register after this date is if the Secretary of Homeland Security redesignates the country, which would allow the registration window to open again for new applicants. If it the registration period doesn't reopen the government may continue to extend Venezuelan TPS for additional years but those who never got registered within the six-month period will not get into TPS.

Benefits of TPS for Venezuelans

  • Work Authorization: TPS allows you to work, but you need to be very careful not to violate other status you may have and that you want to preserve. For example, if you are a student on F1 status and you want to preserve it, you cannot work, or you would violate your F1 visa status.
  • Advance Parole Document: An advance parole document allows you to travel internationally even if your visa expired in your passport. This means that Venezuelans that apply for TPS and are approved, will be allowed to visit Venezuela or any other country if they obtain an Advance Parole Document. You cannot travel until your TPS status has been approved and this document has been approved too. Otherwise, your application can be denied.
  • Protection from removal
  • Preserving status: So, let's say your family is here on a tourist visa or you're on an f1 if you maintain your status on the f1 or the tourist visa until the TPS is approved at the date from the TPS is approved USCIS will consider you in lawful status. This would allow you, for example, to adjust status in the future if you get married to a permanent resident. So, you're going to be “put on pause”, that's what we call “tolling” as to what status you have at the time you are approved for TPS. That means that once at that moment in time, as long as you didn't violate, you were in status.

Deferred Enforced Departure DED for Venezuelans

What is DED? What is Better, TPS or DED?

DED allows a foreign person to obtain a work permit and prevents people from Venezuela to be remove because of the situation in that country.

Our recommendation would be to still register for TPS because the work permit is valid for a longer time, 18 months, and also because TPS is constantly being renewed, while DED was an executive order under Trump’s administration instead of a public regulation. DED is likely not to be renewed by Biden’s administration.

Applying for Venezuelan TPS

We strongly encourage you to speak to a qualified immigration attorney before applying to Venezuelan TPS. If you miss the initial registration you will likely lose the opportunity forever. You will need the following forms:

  • Form I-821
  • Form I-765 (work authorization)
  • Form G-1145

You can download the forms from USCIS's website.

USCIS filing fees (Ages 14 – 65)

  • Form I-821 (TPS registration form) - $135
  • Form I-765 (Work permit, optional) - $410

Total (IF you need the work permit): $545

 

Please remember: You don't have to get the work permit if you're going to preserve your Status. You don't want to violate your F1 status. If you have an F1 Visa, you can get the work permit but you are not allowed to work yet. You can get the work permit later, or you can get it now, but you cannot work while on F1 status or you will be on violation. If you already have asylum pending and you have a work permit under asylum you don't have to get the work permit either.

Can I do my TPS application with a Notary?

Avoid immigration scams! In Venezuela you need to be an attorney to be a notary. In the U.S., anyone can be a notary. Their job is to attest that the person signing a paper is indeed who he/she said is, by verifying his/her identity. If you go to an office and see a long sing promoting many services such as “immigration”, “taxes”, “divorce”, etc. it should be taken as a red flag. Their fees might be “cheaper” but nothing prevent them from taking your money and moving from place to place. There is no agency that can control this individual. And if the registration doesn’t go well, you would need an attorney to work on you case and try to fix the damage done. We have seen this problem many times within the Venezuelan community. At the end, an attorney not only would have saved you four or five hundred dollars but would have obtained different results for you. We have also seen many times situations in which the notary completes the forms with whatever information in order to get the application approved. If you sign the forms, these lies are going to stay with you for the rest of your life in the United States.

Contact our TPS Lawyer Today

If you’re a Venezuelan National, or a stateless person who last resided in Venezuela, and have been physically present in the US since March 9th, call us today to find out if you are eligible for Venezuelan TPS. If you don’t register for TPS now, you can lose the ability to obtain the benefit forever. Please call us at (407) 502 3000 or fill out the online form provided on this page and we will contact you shortly.

TPS For Venezuelans in the United States