Recently the Secretary of Homeland Security has made several major announcements, including offering Temporary Protective Status or “TPS” for people from Burma, also known as Myanmar, and re-opening the registration period for Syrians.
On March 12, 2021, Secretary Mayorkas designated Burma for TPS lasting 18-months. Burma is currently facing a violent military coup d’état and the U.S. Government recognizes that the situation is quickly deteriorating.
TPS is currently being offered to any Burmese citizen, or stateless person who most recently resided in Burma, who has been continuously residing in the United States since March 11, 2021.
EL SALVADOR AND HONDURAS:
Individuals from El Salvador and Honduras with current TPS benefits were automatically extended until October 4, 2021 at the end of last year.
Those TPS recipients who did not re-register under that last open registration period may be able to file their application late, if circumstances did not allow you to file during that time.
On March 30, 2021 the Guatemalan President sent a letter petitioning Vice President Harris to consider TPS for Guatemalan nationals residing in the United States. Guatemala is suffering from famine in many of its departments and is currently the country with the sixth-highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world.
Despite famine and the damaging effects of multiple hurricanes the Department of Homeland Security has not designated Guatemala for TPS as of yet.
On March 18, 2021, Syria was re-designated for Temporary Protective States until September 30, 2022. Based on the ongoing Syrian Civil War, DHS has reopened registration, allowing those currently with TPS to renew their status as well as allowing new applications.
Any Syrian who already has TPS has until May 18, 2021 to submit an application to renew their status. Any new applications must be filed before September 15, 2021. For both renewals and new applicants, they must show they have been physical present in the U.S. since March 31, 2021.
Secretary Mayorkas designated Venezuela for TPS beginning March 9, 2021 through September 9, 2022. The 180-day registration period ends on September 5, 2021, all applications must be filed with USCIS before that date. TPS is available for Venezuelans nations as well as persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Venezuela.
WHY APPLY FOR TPS?
Upon approval applicants will be eligible for an Employment Authorization Document, or work permit, that will last the duration of the TPS. TPS will also serve as protection against removal proceedings as long as no criminal acts have been committed.
TPS also does not prevent you from pursuing another form of relief such as Asylum. Some TPS recipients have even been granted advanced parole to leave the country temporarily while maintaining their TPS.
WHAT DO I NEED TO SUBMIT TO USCIS?
USCIS will need several documents starting with proof of citizenship or nationality in a TPS designated country. They will also require evidence of the date you entered the country and proof that you have resided here since the dates designated in March.
An I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status will need to be completed and filed with its accompanying filing fee. First time applicants must pay $50 along with an $85 biometrics fee if they are older than 14 years. Anyone renewing their TPS is not required to pay a fee. If the applicant wants a work permit, a Form I-765 will be required along with a $410 filing fee, but a fee waiver request is possible.
CAN USCIS DENY MY APPLICATION FOR TPS?
Yes. You will not be eligible for TPS if you miss the registration periods mentioned above outside of very limited situations. You will also not be eligible if you have committed either one felony or two misdemeanors here in the United States depending on the nature of the crime. Those applicants that had resettled in a third country prior to coming to the United States might also not be eligible for TPS.
If you are a citizen of a country recently designated or re-designated for TPS, it is very important that you prepare your application and required documents as soon as possible to avoid any issues with your application. It is important to have a team you trust to help you prepare such a vital and time-sensitive submission.
Wilner & O’Reilly is a multi-state law firm exclusively dedicated to the practice of immigration law. During these uncertain times, we at Wilner & O’Reilly are closely monitoring all immigration changes so that we can provide individuals with the up-to-date information they need. For individualized advice on your immigration situation, please feel free to contact us. We offer free consultations at our offices in Orange, Riverside, Fresno, Sacramento, and San Francisco, California; Salt Lake City and Orem, Utah; and Boise, Idaho.
Danny Chrisney is an associate attorney at the Wilner & O’Reilly Fresno office. The son of a Guatemalan immigrant, he speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese. He studied at Brigham Young University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics with a Minor in Portuguese. Danny received his Juris Doctor degree from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University where he graduated with Highest Pro Bono Distinction.
Kelly O’Reilly is a founding partner with Wilner & O’Reilly, APLC, and a former Immigration Officer with Citizenship and Immigration Services in Los Angeles and Orange County. With over 18 years working as an immigration attorney, he is an expert in all facets of Immigration Law and one of the best immigration attorneys serving Orange County and Riverside County. A native of Fresno, California, Mr. O’Reilly received his law degree from the University of La Verne, College of Law and his Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University. A former missionary in Hong Kong, Mr. O’Reilly has a great love of Chinese culture and is conversant in Cantonese.