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Undocumented Venezuelans in U.S. Get Protected Status (With Video in Spanish)


Scroll to the bottom for Attorney Lisa Rivas’ video in Spanish

The state Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced March 8 that Venezuela is being designated for Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) until September 2022.

“This new designation of TPS for Venezuela enables Venezuelan nationals (and individuals without nationality who last resided in Venezuela) currently residing in the United States to file initial applications for TPS, so long as they meet eligibility requirements,” a DHS press release said.

The 18-month-long designation is based on conditions in Venezuela “that prevent nationals from returning safely, including a complex humanitarian crisis marked by widespread hunger and malnutrition, a growing influence and presence of non-state armed groups, repression, and a crumbling infrastructure,” DHS explained.

A National Public Radio report said the new designation affects an estimated 320,000 Venezuelans.

DHS specified who qualifies for temporary protected status and how the designation works:

  • Only individuals who can demonstrate continuous residence in the United States as of March 8, 2021 are eligible for TPS under Venezuela’s designation.
  • Individuals seeking TPS must file an application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services within a 180-day registration period.
  • They may also apply for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) and for travel authorization.
  • All individuals applying for TPS undergo security and background checks as part of determining eligibility.

DHS refers those planning to seek protected status to the Federal Register Notice (“FRN”) for more details about the eligibility criteria and information on submitting an initial TPS application.

The FRN also provides information about Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Venezuelan nationals and how to apply for DED-related EADs, the DHS said.

Individuals who apply for and receive TPS and who are also covered by DED do not need to apply for Employment Authorization Documentations under both programs, according to DHS.

temporary protected status, Venezuela, Immigration Attorney Lisa Rivas

The Venezuela flag

“TPS is a program which allows people who come from countries which are currently suffering from a humanitarian crisis to be able to remain in the United States legally, obtain a work authorization card, and a Social Security card. The designation of Venezuela will provide a much needed relief and protection for many individuals and families who have fled their home country because of the ongoing crisis,” said Cramer & Anderson Partner Lisa Rivas.

Attorney Rivas, a bilingual Immigration Law and Family Law attorney based in the firm’s Danbury office, passionately helps clients from Latin America, the Caribbean, and elsewhere navigate the full range of immigration complexities.

She has been widely honored for volunteer work on behalf of the immigrant community, including a 2020 Graduates of the Last Decade Impact Award from the UConn Law School Alumni Association, a Connecticut Law Tribune New Leaders in the Law award, an Above and Beyond Award from the Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury, and a Pro Bono Award as part of Law Day in Danbury.

Attorney Rivas may be reached by phone in the Danbury office of Cramer & Anderson at 203-744-1234, or by email at lrivas@crameranderson.com.

The firm also has offices in New Milford, Litchfield, Kent, Washington Depot, and Ridgefield. For more information, see the Cramer & Anderson website or call the New Milford office at 860-355-2631.