PARSIPPANY, N.J. – The office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within the Department of Homeland Security on April 19 opened registration for eligible Ukrainian nationals to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
TPS allows foreign nationals already in the U.S. to remain in the country regardless of their visa status.
While TPS approval does not grant amnesty for prior immigration violations, such as overstaying a visa, individuals can nonetheless still apply and receive the benefits of TPS, such as a work permit. They also have the opportunity to apply for a travel permit and temporary protection from deportation for the duration of their TPS status.
For Ukrainian nationals, the registration period will be effective for 18 months, beginning on April 19 and ending on October 19, 2023.
To be eligible for the program, applicants must be Ukrainian nationals, have continuously resided in the United States since April 11 and have been continuously present in the U.S. since April 19.
TPS status is not available to displaced person currently outside the borders of the U.S.
A recently announced separate program that will offer humanitarian parole status for displaced persons is not available to those Ukrainian nationals already residing in the U.S. and who are eligible for TPS.
While both programs are new, both are managed by USCIS and both have the goal of helping Ukrainian nationals affected by Russia’s war against Ukraine, the two programs are mutually exclusive. Individuals cannot be accepted to both programs.
The secretary of the Department of Homeland Security may designate any country for TPS due to conditions that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals currently residing in the U.S. from returning safely for reasons such as war, environmental disaster or other extraordinary circumstances.
Ukraine received TPS on March 3. It is one of 14 countries to currently hold that designation.
To apply for TPS Ukraine, individuals must complete Form I-821 (Application for Temporary Protected Status), which is available online.
When filing an initial TPS application, applicants can also request an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by submitting a completed Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization), along with the applicant’s Form I-821.
However, in order to access either or both forms, applicants must create an account with USCIS at https://myaccount.uscis.gov/.
There is a fee to apply for TPS and a separate fee for employment authorization. The fee schedule varies according to age and services needed. More information can be found online, https://www.uscis.gov/i-821.
The maximum fee is $545 and applies only to those age 14-65 seeking both TPS and employment authorization. Under certain circumstances, fees may be waived, although a separate application must be submitted.
While qualified immigration attorneys may charge a fee to advise and help complete applications, USCIS recommends that individuals first review available options online at https://www.uscis.gov/avoid-scams/find-legal-services in order to help determine the appropriate fee for assistance with the application process.