The initial term of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukraine began on April 19, 2022 and ended on October 19, 2023. Ukrainian nationals who were granted TPS during the initial term and wished to extend their TPS status were required to re-register for TPS during the 60-day re-registration period between August 21, 2023 and October 20, 2023.
Now that the initial term has ended and the new TPS term commenced on October 20, 2023, what will happen to Ukrainians who previously held TPS but did not file a re-registration application by the October 20th re-registration deadline?
USCIS provides a limited opportunity for individuals to re-register for TPS after the re-registration deadline has passed. Below are some frequently asked questions about late re-registration for TPS.
When Was the TPS Re-Registration Deadline for Ukrainians to Extend their TPS Status?
On August 18, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced an extension and redesignation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukraine for 18 months, from October 20, 2023 through April 19, 2025, due to the ongoing war and extraordinary conditions in Ukraine that prevent individuals from safely returning. The initial TPS term that began in April 2022 expired on October 20, 2023.
Individuals from Ukraine who were granted TPS in the initial term and wished to extend their TPS status were required to re-register for TPS between August 21, 2023 and October 20, 2023.
What Happens to Individuals Who Fail to Re-Register for TPS?
Regulations provide that failure to re-register for TPS properly within the 60-day re-registration period may result in the withdrawal of one’s TPS following appropriate procedures. This could potentially result in losing employment authorization, eligibility for certain benefits given to TPS holders, and even deportation for individuals who have no other valid status or protection from removal.
Are Ukrainians Allowed to Re-Register for TPS Late, after the Deadline Has Passed?
Regulations provide that USCIS has the discretion to accept and approve a late re-registration application when the applicant has “good cause” for filing after the end of the stated re-registration period. USCIS has confirmed that Ukrainians may apply for late TPS re-registration after the October 20th deadline.
USCIS instructs applicants who file for TPS re-registration after the deadline to show “good cause” by submitting a letter that explains their reason(s) for filing late, along with their re-registration application. The letter does not need to be long, but it must be truthful and must provide a clear explanation of the reason(s) for why the applicant was not able to re-register in time.
Additionally, the applicant must provide corroborating evidence of the reason(s) for filing late, to the extent this evidence if available. For example, if someone is filing late because they were caring for an ill family member during the re-registration period, they can include documentation from the family’s physician or hospital verifying the medical condition and the dates treated.
How Can Ukrainians Show “Good Cause” for Filing a Late TPS Re-Registration?
USCIS has not published specific examples of what constitutes “good cause” for late TPS re-registration. Some reasons that could potentially justify a late filing include:
- serious physical or mental illness of the applicant or a close family member
- sudden hospitalization of the applicant or a close family member
- a death in the family
- another personal emergency
- lack of mental capacity about the process
- language barriers that resulted in failure to learn or understand the deadline or re-registration process
- receiving misinformation about TPS or the re-registration process through no fault of their own
- lack of access to legal resources
Note that the above list is for illustrative purposes only and should not be presumed to apply to all individuals filing a late TPS re-registration. Similarly, there could be other valid reasons that justify a late filing which are not listed above. Each applicant’s situation is unique and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
How Late Can Ukrainians File for TPS Re-Registration after the Deadline?
USCIS has not provided any indication of how late an applicant may file for TPS re-registration after the deadline has expired. Generally, the sooner the applicant can file for re-registration, the better. Applicants who file long after the re-registration deadline has expired may need to provide a highly compelling reason(s) showing “good cause” for their very late filing.
Ukrainians who are filing an initial TPS application (who did not previously hold TPS) may register until the end of the new term, which runs through April 19, 2025.
What Is the Process for TPS Re-Registration?
Ukrainians who were granted TPS in the first term can re-register for TPS by filing Form I-821, an Application for Temporary Protected Status. In Part 1 on Page 1, check box 1.b. that indicates “This is my re-registration application for TPS.”
Current TPS holders applying for TPS re-registration do not need to resubmit any documentation to prove their nationality, date of entry into the U.S., continuous physical presence, or continuous residence. However, USCIS may ask for additional information and/or documentation in certain circumstances.
Applicants must submit the required fees for each person applying for TPS re-registration. Here are the fees for Form I-821 and Form I-765:
|TPS re-registration only
|TPS plus Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
|$0 + $410 = $410
|14 and older
|$85 for biometric fee
|$85 + $410 = $495
Before applying for TPS re-registration, applicants should be screened to ensure they are still eligible for TPS and still meet the continuous residence and continuous physical presence requirements. Any new criminal issues or other developments that could trigger inadmissibility should be discussed with a qualified attorney, as applicants may need to file Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, along with supporting documentation.
Applicants for TPS re-registration who are requesting a new EAD must file a new Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Form I-765 may be filed together with the I-821, or it may be filed later based on a pending or approved I-821.
A sample TPS re-registration cover letter can be found here: https://ukrainetaskforce.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Sample-TPS-Re-Registration-Cover-Letter-for-Ukrainian-Citizens.pdf
A letter explaining “good cause” for filing a late re-registration (discussed above) must be included with Form I-821, along with supporting documentation that verifies the reasons for filing late.
Applicants may either file online or by mail. Applicants can file online through the USCIS website by setting up or using their existing USCIS account. Applications can also be sent by mail to the appropriate address listed on this page for the filing state in which they reside: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status/temporary-protected-status-designated-country-ukraine
For more information and instructions on TPS re-registration, watch our webinar in English and Ukrainian: TPS Re-Registration Webinar
What Happens to Employment Authorization for Ukrainians Who Have Not Re-Registered for TPS?
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for individuals with previously granted TPS would automatically be extended through October 19, 2024, since not all re-registrants may receive a new EAD before their current EAD expires. Ukrainian nationals who were granted EADs with their initial TPS will have their EADs extended through October 19, 2024 without needing to apply for new EADs.
However, Ukrainians who wish to ensure that they maintain their employment authorization without a gap are encouraged to re-register for TPS as soon as possible and may want to apply for new EADs with their TPS re-registration. This can be done by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization along with their Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status.
Ukrainians who have employment authorization through a different eligibility category, such as humanitarian parole, will continue to be employment authorized for as long as their parole (or other status) remains valid.
Can a Late TPS Re-Registration Application Be Denied?
Yes, USCIS may deny a late TPS re-registration if the applicant fails to show good cause for filing late. USCIS may also deny a late (or timely) re-registration application if an applicant fails to meet the TPS eligibility requirements. Prior to filing for re-registration, applicants should be screened to ensure they are still eligible for TPS, meet the continuous residence and continuous physical presence requirements, and don’t have new criminal activities or other issues that could trigger inadmissibility for TPS.
What Could Happen if an Applicant’s TPS Re-Registration Is Denied?
If USCIS denies a TPS re-registration application due to either failure to show good cause for filing late or failure to meet the TPS eligibility requirements, regulations provide that USCIS will withdraw the grant of TPS.
If USCIS withdraws a grant of TPS, individuals who have no other valid status or protection may accrue unlawful presence and may ultimately be subject to deportation.
Regulations further provide that, if USCIS denies TPS because the applicant is not eligible due to a ground of inadmissibility or deportation (for example, certain crimes or drug-related grounds), then the TPS denial notice will also include a Notice to Appear (NTA) in immigration court which states the ground(s) of inadmissibility or deportation. This may result in removal proceedings for that individual to be deported from the United States. For this reason, applicants who have new criminal or other developments should speak with a qualified immigration attorney before filing for TPS re-registration.
Can a TPS Re-Registration Denial Be Appealed?
This depends on why the TPS re-registration was denied.
- If the individual was denied TPS re-registration for a reason other than lack of TPS eligibility due to a ground of inadmissibility or deportation, then the applicant will have the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO).
- Regulations provide that their TPS benefits and employment authorization will be extended while the appeal is pending, until a final decision is made.
- If the appeal is ultimately dismissed, and if that individual is not protected from removal by another valid status or protection, then the individual will be placed in removal proceedings and will be entitle to a de novo determination of eligibility for TPS in removal proceedings.
- However, if the individual was denied TPS re-registration because USCIS determined they were not eligible for TPS due to a ground of inadmissibility or deportation (for example, certain crimes or drug-related grounds), then the applicant will not have the right to appeal the decision.
- When USCIS issues a Notice to Appear (NTA) in immigration court which states the ground(s) of inadmissibility or deportation, then the individual may renew their application for TPS in deportation or exclusion proceedings.
- If the immigration judge then denies their eligibility for TPS, the applicant may appeal the judge’s decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals.
Where Can I Learn More about TPS?
To learn more about TPS dates, rights, and protections, read our article on TPS Redesignation and Extension for Ukraine.