Venezuelans in U.S. Granted Temporary Protected Status

On March 9, the Department of Homeland Security announced the designation of Venezuela for 18 months of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) due to the “severe humanitarian emergency” in that country.  Venezuelans already in the U.S. on March 8, 2021 will be allowed to apply for TPS during the application period of March 9, 2021 through September 5, 2021 if they meet all the eligibility criteria.

Eligible Venezuelans can apply for TPS and their work permits simultaneously, and if approved, will be eligible to live and work legally in the U.S through September 9, 2022.  Estimates are that more than 300,000 Venezuelans will be eligible to apply for TPS.   USCIS has published details on how to apply for TPS here.

TPS is offered to citizens of countries that the U.S. government deems unsafe due to natural disasters or wars and civil conflict, so that those already in the U.S. when the Administration designates their country for TPS can apply to remain and work here legally.  It is typically offered in 18 month increments, and has often been extended repeatedly.

On January 19, 2021, the prior administration had conferred Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) on Venezuelans present in the U.S. as of January 20, 2021, valid through July 22, 2022.   DED is an administrative solution, while TPS is a remedy enshrined in statute.

The same Federal Register announcement of TPS for Venezuelans describes procedures for Venezuelans to apply for DED and work permits based on DED.  Since most Venezuelans who would be eligible for DED would also be eligible for TPS, and TPS will last for more than a month and a half longer than DED, as a practical matter, most Venezuelans will likely apply for TPS and its related work permit.