The eruption of the war in Ukraine, instigated by Russia in February 2022, brought about a dire humanitarian crisis, displacing millions from their homes to escape the conflict’s upheaval. Numerous individuals sought refuge in the United States.
In a bid to aid Ukrainian refugees, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) introduced a measure to grant them Temporary Protected Status (TPS). TPS constitutes an immigration classification offered to individuals who are unable to safely return to their home countries due to crises like armed conflicts or natural calamities.
The declaration of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukrainian nationals was initially announced on April 11, 2022. It encompassed citizens of Ukraine who were present in the United States as of April 11, 2022, and had continuously maintained residence in the country since April 19, 2022. The conferred status was valid for a duration of 18 months.
In August 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extended this TPS designation for an additional 18 months, extending until April 19, 2025. This extension was prompted by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Under the updated guidelines, Ukrainians residing in the United States as of August 16, 2023, are eligible to apply for TPS status and its associated benefits.
Furthermore, Ukrainian students holding an F-1 visa can request a work permit, enabling them to work more hours while pursuing their studies and alleviating the burden of their educational commitments during the TPS period.
The window for renewing TPS status is limited, spanning from August 21 to October 20, 2023. New applications, not for renewal, must be submitted between August 21, 2023, and April 19, 2025.
Applications for TPS that are currently being reviewed are likely to receive automatic extensions until April 2025.
Ukrainians granted TPS status have several advantages, including:
- Authorization to reside and work within the United States for up to 18 months, with the possibility of renewal.
- Entitlement to a driver’s license and access to public services.
- Protection against deportation.
To secure TPS, Ukrainian citizens must file an application with the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), submitting Form I-821, the Application for Temporary Protected Status.
Applications must be submitted within 180 days from the TPS announcement date and can be submitted online or via mail.
Essential documents for the application include:
- Completed Form I-821.
- Copy of the passport or relevant proof of Ukrainian citizenship.
- Duplicate of the migration card (I-94).
- Copy of evidence of entry into the United States before August 16, 2023.
- Copy of immigration status.
The application process typically spans between 6 and 8 months, with successful applicants receiving notifications from USCIS.
While TPS for Ukrainians was initially granted for a maximum of 18 months, future extensions could be decided upon by the DHS.
Extending the TPS would grant Ukrainians the opportunity to continue living and working in the United States for an extended period, fostering deeper integration into American society and the ability to establish new lives.
Temporary Protected Status for Ukrainians serves as a vital solution, providing assistance to thousands impacted by the war. This status affords them the chance to reside and work in the US until a secure return to their home country becomes possible.