Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas has designated Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, from March 9, 2021 through September 9, 2022, according to a Federal Register notice. The designation will permit eligible Venezuelans to file for TPS status and for related employment authorization documents (EADs) and travel permission. According to DHS, the designation is due to the severe political and economic crisis in Venezuela that temporarily prevents nationals from returning safely, including a complex humanitarian crisis that includes widespread hunger and malnutrition, an increasing presence of non-state armed groups, and a deteriorating infrastructure.
The Notice also provides information for Venezuelan nationals on how to apply for Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)-related EADs, in light of the January 19, 2021 memorandum issued by former President Trump establishing DED for Venezuelan nationals through July 20, 2022.
TPS eligibility and application process
Venezuelan nationals who can demonstrate continuous residence in the United States since March 8, 2021, and who have been continuously physically present in the United States since March 9, 2021, are eligible for TPS under Venezuela’s new designation. Applicants must file a Form I-821 application with appropriate fee(s) (or request for fee waiver) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within the 180-day registration period from March 9, 2021 through September 5, 2021. Applicants may also apply for EADs and for travel authorization during this time, by submitting the corresponding forms and fee(s) or fee waiver request.
All individuals applying for TPS undergo security and background checks as part of determining eligibility. Biometrics collection (fingerprints) is generally required for applicants ages 14 and older.
DED eligibility and EAD applications
Pursuant to a January 2021 presidential memorandum issued by former President Trump, certain Venezuelans nationals who were present in the United States on January 20, 2021 and have been continuously present, may benefit for a period of 18 months from DED, meaning they are protected from removal and eligible for employment authorization during that time. The Federal Register notice provides instructions on how eligible foreign nationals should complete and submit Form I-765 when applying for an EAD under DED protection.
The agency also reminds applicants that DED authorization for Venezuelans is set to expire on July 20, 2022, so after that date they will need to provide other evidence of work authorization in order to continue in lawful employment.
Venezuelan nationals eligible for both TPS and DED
Venezuelan nationals who receive TPS and are also covered by DED do not need to apply for an EAD under both programs. Further, DHS encourages individuals who believe they are eligible for TPS to apply during the initial registration period of March 9, 2021 through September 5, 2021, even if they are also covered by DED. This preserves the option of TPS in case the individual is later unable to qualify for a TPS late initial filing after DED for Venezuela has expired.