UPDATE: The Department of Homeland Security has published two Federal Register notices regarding how to register for Temporary Protected Status for individuals fleeing Ukraine and Sudan. See full details here.
On March 3, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security granted temporary protected status (TPS) to Ukraine for 18 months in light of the war with Russia and the ongoing emergency with civilians. Those that are eligible for this protected status must have lived in the United States since March 1, 2022. Those who try to travel to the U.S. past March 1, 2022 are not considered eligible for TPS.
“Russia’s premeditated and unprovoked attack on Ukraine has resulted in an ongoing war, senseless violence, and Ukrainians 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.”
DHS also announced on March 16, 2022 an 18-month temporary protected status for Afghanistan for those residing in the U.S. as of March 15, 2022.
“This TPS designation will help to protect Afghan nationals who have already been living in the United States from returning to unsafe conditions,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “Under this designation, TPS will also provide additional protections and assurances to trusted partners and vulnerable Afghans who supported the U.S. military, diplomatic, and humanitarian missions in Afghanistan over the last 20 years.”
Individuals will need to meet all the requirements to receive TPS including security and background checks. Those that try to travel to the U.S. after March 15, 2022 will not be eligible.
How is Temporary Protected Status Designated?
Temporary Protected Status was originally created as part of the Immigration Act of 1990 to safeguard individuals who are from a country facing either:
- Ongoing war
- Environmental crisis
- Extraordinary and temporary conditions like earthquakes, epidemics, etc.
The situation in Ukraine as a result of the Russian invasion fits the criteria due to the extreme humanitarian crisis. Thousands have fled the war-torn cities, where food and basic necessities are scarce and infrastructure has been ravaged.
Countries Currently Designated for TPS
- Burma (Myanmar)
- El Salvador
- South Sudan
It’s important to highlight that TPS is a temporary status and does not equate to permanent status. Individuals granted TPS are safeguarded from deportation from the U.S. and can apply for work/travel clearance.
What happens after 18 months?
Should the situation in Ukraine or Afghanistan not improve drastically by the time the TPS elapses, the Department of Homeland Security has the authority to extend the protected status. Should this happen, individuals should check if it’s necessary to reregister or renew their work authorization.
To learn more about TPS including how to file and the reliability requirements, click here.