On March 8, 2021, Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro N. Mayorkas, announced that Venezuela will be designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beginning on March 9, 2021. The designation will last 18 months, ending in September 2022. This new designation of TPS for Venezuela enables Venezuelan nationals (and individuals without nationality who last resided in Venezuela) currently residing in the United States to file initial applications for TPS, so long as they meet eligibility requirements.
In order for Venezuelan nationals to qualify for TPS, they must:
- Be continuously physically present in the United States since March 9, 2021, the effective date of designation;
- Have continuously resided in the United States since March 8, 2021; and
- Not be inadmissible to the United States or be barred from asylum for certain criminal or national security related reasons, such as individuals who have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors.
Secretary Mayorkas stated that this designation is due to extraordinary and temporary conditions in Venezuela that prevent nationals from returning safely, including a complex humanitarian crisis marked by widespread hunger and malnutrition, a growing influence and presence of non-state armed groups, repression, and a crumbling infrastructure. “The living conditions in Venezuela reveal a country in turmoil, unable to protect its own citizens,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “It is in times of extraordinary and temporary circumstances like these that the United States steps forward to support eligible Venezuelan nationals already present here, while their home country seeks to right itself out of the current crises.”
Eligible individuals must file an application for TPS with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within the 180-day registration period beginning on March 9, 2021 and ending on September 5, 2021. They may also apply for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) and for travel authorization. All individuals applying for TPS undergo security and background checks as part of determining eligibility.
Through the same notice announcing TPS designation for Venezuela, DHS also set forth the procedures for individuals covered by Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Venezuela to apply for employment authorization valid through July 20, 2022. DED for Venezuelan nationals, announced by the Trump Administration on January 19, 2021, remains in effect for 18 months through July 20, 2022 and defers removal for all individuals covered during that period.