Our hearts and prayers are with the people of Ukraine as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced yesterday, March 3, 2022, that Ukrainian citizens in the United States who entered with a Ukrainian passport on or before March 1, 2022 are now eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Employment Authorization, provided they are otherwise eligible. DHS is to be commended for its quick action in implementing this measure.
TPS will be granted for 18 months. Applications for TPS and work authorization must be filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and granted before employment authorization will become operative. As with most immigration benefits, many grounds of inadmissibility would bar a grant of TPS, such as some criminal convictions. In addition, the USCIS Website (https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status) should be carefully monitored to determine registration periods.
It is estimated there are approximately 30,000 Ukrainians in America, but is it not clear how many need or are eligible for TPS and work authorization. It is important that Ukrainian citizens who wish to apply for TPS not depart from the United States unless and until special permission is granted by USCIS to do so after obtaining a grant of TPS. The registration period will be announced in the next few days. USCIS permits filing for TPS and employment authorization is online. It is suggested that persons interested in filing contact an immigration lawyer or non-profit organization to ensure eligibility and to ensure the filing is as smooth as possible. The fly in the ointment is that EAD work permits often take six months to a year, so be prepared for a waiting time.
If you are or know a Ukrainian in the U.S. in need of TPS, our Immigration Group at Wright, Constable & Skeen is available for consultation. For a consultation, please email Corey at email@example.com.