Ukrainian Nationals in the U.S. Eligible for Temporary Protected Status

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24 has rallied the world to the help the suffering Ukraine people. Nearby nations like Poland have taken in Ukrainian refugees fleeing destruction in their homeland. Here in the United States, it was announced that Ukrainian nationals working in this country on immigrant visas have been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

The decision was made by the Department of Homeland Security and will impact up to 30,000 Ukrainians who are here in the United States“ “In these extraordinary times, we will continue to offer our support and protection to Ukrainian nationals in the United States”, said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas in issuing the TPS authorization.

How Temporary Protected Status Works

To live and work in the United States, an immigrant needs a temporary visa. This can be a part of the process of getting a green card. But while a green card can be permanent, the visa will eventually expire.

The Ukraine tragedy is not the first time events have made it unsafe and impractical for those on immigrant visas to return to their country of origin. In 1990, The Immigration Act was passed by Congress and signed by then-President Bill Clinton. One of the Act’s provisions was to institute Temporary Protected Status for immigrants facing an unsafe return to their country of origin.

In 2003, as part of a legislative reorganization that took place in the aftermath of 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security was given decision-making authority on TPS. The DHS is tasked with evaluating the three conditions cited by Congress as reasons for granting Temporary Protected Status.

War was certainly one of those conditions. Natural disasters were another. Immigration officials were also given flexibility to a grant TPS if a country of origin faced conditions deemed both “extraordinary and permanent”.

The typical length of time for TPS to last is at least 6 months, but not more than 18 months. The status of each nation of origin can be reviewed at the time and TPS extended, if appropriate.

Ukraine joins a list that includes 12 other nations whose nationals here in the United States are covered by Temporary Protected Status. Those other countries are Burma, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan & South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.

How to Apply for Temporary Protected Status

Form I-821 is the form to use to apply for TPS. Please note that an important precondition of TPS eligibility is that the person must have been in the United States prior to the declaration of their home country’s eligibility. For Ukrainian nationals, that date is March 1. If TPS is extended when it comes up for renewal, it’s possible it may be¬†expanded to cover immigrants who arrived at later date.

If you are from Ukraine or any of the other twelve countries eligible for TPS and need help securing protection, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We can also work with the many immigrants from around the world who are seeking visas, green cards, and ultimately permanent citizenship in the United¬† States. Here at Carr | Woodall, we have a deep team of talented attorneys that has nearly 100 years of experience. Call us today at (801) 988-9400 or contact us online to set up an appointment.

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