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  • Writer's pictureJoel Coxander

TPS for Venezuela is (FINALLY) Here!

TPS has finally been granted for Venezuela. TPS is Temporary Protected Status. This is great news! TPS is a good benefit. It allows Venezuelans here having fled the persecution and instability of their home country to get a work permit, protects you from deportation, and in some states it counts as an “admission” like a visa. In addition to establishing TPS, USCIS has also finally published rules for how to apply for a work permit through DED (Deferred Enforced Departure). The current TPS for Venezuela will last until September 9, 2022. If you get a work permit through TPS, it will last until September 9, 2022. The government can then choose to extend TPS in 2022.

Many Venezuelans in the US have a pending asylum case because of the political persecution they have suffered. For Venezuelans who have an asylum case, they can get TPS and still continue the asylum case. This can be a little complicated, but it is possible. It has been a hard many years for Venezuelans, and many have strong asylum cases. Those should not be simply abandoned. Asylum is a permanent benefit that leads to a green card and then citizenship.

I recommend that Venezuelans without status who qualify apply for TPS. The work permit is a great benefit. With the work permit, you will be able to get a driver’s license in many states, including Tennessee. There is another benefit that is even better for some people. In Tennessee and about 10 other states, getting TPS counts as a lawful admission to the US. It is as though you entered the USA with a visa on the day your TPS is approved. That means that Venezuelans can be sponsored for a green card by a family member or an employer without needing a waiver or having to leave the USA, in many cases. For Venezuelans who have a family member who is a US citizen or who has a green card, this can be a big benefit. When applying for TPS, individuals can also apply for permission to travel outside the United States.

For many countries that get TPS, the TPS is extended until the situation in their country improves. For example, TPS for El Salvador has been extended many times in the past 20 years. Hopefully, Venezuela's situation will improve soon, but if not, TPS is likely to be extended during the Biden Administration.

To qualify for TPS, a Venezuelan must have entered the United States before January 20, 2021 and live in the United States. There are some exceptions, including for people who have a serious criminal record, certain immigration violations, and a few other types of issues.

In my opinion, TPS is better than DED. It is an actual immigration status. DED is just a protection from deportation. TPS also has the benefits previously discussed. DED just offers the work permit and travel permission, and also expires in July 2022 rather than September 2022. DED can also be removed more easily than TPS.

The deadline to apply for TPS for Venezuelans is September 5, 2021. Venezuelans do not have to apply for the work permit and travel permission at the same time as applying for TPS, but I recommend it.

TPS for Venezuela has been a long time coming. This summary does not cover every part of the rules governing TPS and DED. If you think you or someone you know might qualify, please contact us for a consultation.

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