What Is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a temporary immigration protection that is provided to nationals of certain countries who cannot return to their home countries due to an ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or other dangerous conditions defined by the U.S. State Department. Individuals who are granted TPS are protected from being removed from the United States and are permitted to work if they receive employment authorization through TPS. Individuals who are granted TPS may also apply for permission to travel abroad and return to the U.S.
When Does TPS Begin and End for Ukrainians?
The Department of Homeland Security designated Ukraine for TPS for 18 months starting in April 2022. If granted, TPS status lasts only until the end of their country’s designated period, regardless of the individual’s application or approval date. The current TPS period for Ukraine is effective through October 19, 2023.
Which Ukrainians are Eligible for TPS?
Ukrainian nationals who arrived in the U.S. on or before April 11, 2022 and have been physically present in the U.S. continuously since April 19, 2022 may apply for TPS. Ukrainians who arrived in the U.S. after April 11 are not eligible to apply for TPS.
TPS is available regardless of one’s current immigration status in the U.S., except those who are already U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders). However, eligibility may be affected if an individual has been convicted of any felony or 2 or more misdemeanors committed in the United States. Individuals who have ever been arrested, cited, or convicted of a crime are advised to speak to an expert on immigration law before applying for TPS. Additionally, it may be necessary to obtain a Certificate of Disposition for each matter.
Those who previously applied for asylum and have a case pending should speak with an attorney before applying for TPS, since there could be some consequences to obtaining asylum for individuals who are granted TPS.
How Can Ukrainians Get TPS?
Individuals from Ukraine who are in the U.S. must apply to receive TPS. It is not given automatically. To apply for TPS, you must fill out Form I-821, an Application for Temporary Protected Status to USCIS.
Applicants may either file online or by mail. To file online, you or your attorney will need to file through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website, where you will need an account. You may also send an application by mail to the appropriate address listed on this page for the filing state in which you reside: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status/temporary-protected-status-designated-country-ukraine
TPS takes effect on the date that USCIS approves the Application for Temporary Protected Status, not on the date the application is received.
Please note that it could take 6-8+ months to receive TPS approval.
What Documents Are Required when Applying for TPS?
To apply for TPS, you will need to show that 1) you are from a TPS-designated country (i.e. Ukraine), 2) you arrived in the U.S. on or before the designated date (April 11, 2022), and 3) you have been continuously residing in the U.S. since April 19, 2022.
Here is a list of documents to provide with your TPS application:
- Proof of nationality
- Passport, birth certificate with photo identification, or a national identity document from your home country with a photo and / or fingerprint.
- Proof of your date of entry into the U.S.
- Passport entry stamp, I-94 arrival / departure record, or other documents proving your entry into the U.S. on or before April 11, 2022.
- Proof of your continuous residence in the U.S. between April 19, 2022 and the present date. These may include:
- Employment records (pay stubs, W-2 forms, IRS tax transcripts, state verification of state tax filing, letters from your employer, statements from banks you have done business with).
- Rent receipts, utility bills (gas, electricity, phone, etc.), receipts or letters from companies showing the dates you received service.
- School records (report cards, letters, etc.) from the schools you or your children attended in the US, showing the names of the schools and dates of attendance.
- Hospital or medical records of the treatment you or your children received, showing the name of the medical or medical facility and the dates of treatment or hospitalization.
- Statements from churches, unions, or other organizations relative to your residence and that identify you by name.
- Other miscellaneous documents, such as birth certificates of your children born here, dated bank transfers and transactions, letters, US Social Security card, driver’s license, Selective Service card, contracts, mortgages, insurance policies, etc.
Does Each Person in a Family Need to Apply for TPS?
Yes, each person must apply separately for TPS, and each application must include a fee (unless the family is applying for a fee waiver). Each applicant must individually meet the eligibility requirements for TPS. Family members may submit their applications at the same time or at different times.
What is the Deadline for Ukrainians to Apply for TPS?
The current TPS period for Ukraine expires October 19, 2023. Those who are eligible may apply for TPS anytime during the registration period, which began April 19, 2022 and ends October 19, 2023.
Where Can Ukrainians Receive Assistance with Applying for TPS?
The Ukraine Immigration Task Force is partnering with other organizations to offer clinics for Ukrainians who need help applying for TPS. Monthly clinics are offered for as long as Ukrainians are eligible to apply for TPS. These clinics are held virtually with live attorneys and translators. Anyone in the U.S. who is eligible to apply for TPS may attend these clinics remotely. To sign up for assistance, please visit this page: bit.ly/TPSClinics
Ukrainians can also sign up to receive help with TPS registration through a non-profit organization that is offering assistance with filing for TPS: http://L4GG.org/TPS-Ukraine
Assistance is also available for applying for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) with the TPS application.
Can I Work If I Have TPS?
Receiving TPS will not automatically give you employment authorization. You must separately file Form I-765, an Application for Employment Authorization. Those who are eligible for employment authorization may apply before they file for TPS, or at the same time. This may help their Employment Authorization Document to be approved more quickly.
Please note that Ukrainians who hold certain statuses such as B-1/B-2 visitor visas should consult with an attorney about their employment options, since these statuses do not allow the visa holder to work during the visa stay. Individuals who choose to work while holding a B-1/B-2 visa may violate their visa status and may not be able to use this visa anymore to stay or return to the U.S.
What Happens When the TPS Period for Ukraine Ends?
Individuals who have TPS return to the immigration status that they held prior to receiving TPS, unless that status has expired or the person has successfully acquired a new immigration status.
Can I Renew TPS Status after it Expires?
The Department of Homeland Security will determine whether to redesignate or extend the current TPS period for Ukraine. A decision is expected to be announced in August 2023. If TPS is extended for Ukraine, those whose current TPS expires in October 2023 will need to reapply for TPS before the expiration of the current term.
Does TPS Provide a Pathway to U.S. Citizenship?
TPS does not automatically provide a person with a path to citizenship or lawful permanent residence (a green card). However, a person with TPS status who is otherwise eligible for permanent residence may apply for that status. Likewise, a person who becomes eligible to apply for permanent residence while they hold TPS (for example, if they marry a U.S. citizen or permanent resident) may apply for a green card.
For more information on TPS, visit our Resources in the United States page at https://ukrainetaskforce.org/united-states/