The USCIS has posted a new memo regarding temporary protected status (TPS) and officially designated countries Ukraine and Sudan. The memo has been posted in response to notices that have also been posted in the Federal Registrar. In this blog, we will focus on these announcements and what they mean for eligible TPS applicants and work permit authorization in the U.S.
For reference, TPS is a humanitarian provision that protects vulnerable migrants in the United States from being deported back to their country in the event of an ongoing humanitarian crisis, protracted war, or environmental disaster. If you are eligible for TPS, you are also eligible for a work permit in the U.S., and should make sure to file for one as soon as possible. The decision to grant TPS is always weighed by the Secretary of Homeland Security. In the case of Ukraine, TPS has already been granted for those who are fleeing the country, however the DHS has now changed an important cut-off date that allows for more Ukrainians to be eligible for this status.
Previously, the DHS stated that Ukrainians needed to prove continuous residence in the United States starting on March 1st, 2022. However, the DHS has now extended that date to accommodate more Ukrainians who are entered the U.S. via Mexico in recent weeks. Now, if you are a Ukrainian citizen, you will still be eligible for TPS if you can prove continuous residence since April 11th, 2022. The U.S. government estimates that now thousands more Ukrainians will be eligible for the status and work permits because of this extension.
Importantly, if you are filing for TPS via the USCIS form I-821, you can also apply for working authorization at the same time. That is, if you are already in the United States, you should make sure to submit your work permit application while you submit your application for TPS (i.e. concurrent filing). Being granted TPS does not automatically confer working authorization in the U.S. The good news is that you can now file for a work permit online. Make sure you create a USCIS account in order to do so. Here is a link where you can easily sign up: https://www.uscis.gov/file-online/how-to-create-a-uscis-online-account.
In Part 1 of the I-765 application, be sure to specify if you are applying for initial permission to accept employment, or if you are applying for a renewal. If you are applying for a renewal, you need to attach evidence of your previous EAD. In Part 2, make sure you agree to the issuance of a Social Security Card. Having an SSN—Social Security Number in the U.S. will make your life much easier, as you might need to present this information if you end up residing in the U.S. on a more permanent basis. In addition, the correct code to input for TPS applicants in Part 2 is A12. You will be asked for the Code on Question 27.
For Question 30, you should not be confused into thinking that an entry point via the U.S. Mexico border is not a lawful entry point. If you were paroled into the U.S. via this entry point, this represents a temporary lawful entry. Explain your situation in a few sentences per Question 30g.