On March 3, 2022, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designated Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This designation offers unrestricted work authorization and protection against removal (deportation) for Ukrainian nationals who have been physically present in the U.S. since March 1, 2022. We recommend that eligible Ukrainian nationals plan to apply for TPS, and that employers raise this option with eligible employees.
As background, DHS may designate a country for TPS when conditions in that country prevent citizens from safely returning due to an ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. While temporary in nature, TPS designations may remain in place for many years. In addition to Ukraine, TPS is currently designated for the following countries: Burma (Myanmar), El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. Note that eligibility requirements, including required length of physical presence in the U.S., differ for each designated country.
TPS does not supplant an applicant’s existing immigration visa status. Thus, even if a foreign national holds a valid temporary visa status (such as F-1, H-1B, L-1, O-1 or E-2), TPS can provide a valuable layer of added protection.
To qualify for TPS under Ukraine’s designation, an applicant must:
- Be a national of Ukraine, or a person without nationality who last habitually resided in Ukraine;
- File during the open initial registration period (to be announced shortly in the Federal Register); and
- Have been continuously physically present in the United States since March 1, 2022.
Please contact any member of the Immigration practice group to assess filing eligibility, or with any additional questions regarding this LEGALcurrents or the TPS application process, at 585.232.6500.
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