Due to the Russian hostilities in Ukraine, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukrainian citizens currently present in the U.S.
The TPS designation will go into effect on the publication date of the upcoming Federal Register notice, which will provide instructions for applying for TPS and an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The TPS designation period will run for 18 months.
Once granted TPS, an individual cannot be detained by DHS on the basis of his or her immigration status in the U.S.
In order to qualify for TPS, applicants must meet all eligibility requirements and undergo security and background checks. And there are key elements to note:
- Ukrainian citizens must have continuously resided in the U.S. since March 1, 2022
- Ukrainian citizens who attempt to travel to the U.S. after March 1, 2022, will not be eligible for TPS
DHS may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country's nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.
DHS may designate a country for TPS due to the following temporary conditions in the country:
- Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war)
- An environmental disaster (such as an earthquake or hurricane)
- An epidemic
- Other extraordinary and temporary conditions
During a designated period, individuals who are TPS beneficiaries or who are found to be preliminarily eligible for TPS upon initial review of their cases:
- Are not removable from the U.S.
- May obtain an EAD
- May be granted travel authorization
TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or give any other immigration status. However, registration for TPS does not prevent an individual from:
- Applying for nonimmigrant status
- Filing for adjustment of status based on an immigrant petition
- Applying for any other immigration benefit or protection for which an individual may be eligible
Further, the DHS TPS designation for Ukraine creates a pathway for legal status and work authorization.