Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24 of this year, many Ukrainians have been displaced or, if located outside the country at the time of attack, prevented from returning to Ukraine. The humanitarian crisis worsens as Russian military forces close in on the capital of Kyiv, destroying civilian infrastructure and depriving unarmed citizens of basic needs such as electricity, water, shelter, food and other emergency or medical resources.
The humanitarian situation in Ukraine, a consequence of Russia’s unprovoked full-scale attack, is being met with urgent calls for relief aid on the international level. Ukraine’s neighboring countries, such as Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, have been opening their doors to the Ukrainian refugees, with numbers of asylum-seekers steadily increasing everyday.
Temporary Protected Status Designation
Outside of Europe and more specifically in the West, the United States and Canada are also voicing their support for Ukrainian asylum seekers, pledging to aid these refugees in the immigration process. On March 3, 2022, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the designation of Ukraine under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months.
The three statutory bases for TPS designations are ongoing arm conflict, a natural disaster, or extraordinary and temporary conditions. Ukraine’s designation is a result of the ongoing armed conflict brought on by Russia and, as a result, extraordinary and temporary conditions that prevent Ukrainian nationals from returning to Ukraine safely.
How Ukrainians Can Qualify for TPS
Those who are not Ukrainian nationals but habitually resided in Ukraine prior are also included under this consideration, according to DHS. In order for an individual to qualify for TPS, they must:
- Be a national of the designated country or last habitually resided in Ukraine
- Be continuously and physically present in the US since date of designation (March 1, 2022)
- Have continually lived in the US since a date to be specified by DHS
- Not be convicted of any felonies or misdemeanors in the US
- Not be barred from asylum or found ineligible under immigration rules for other criminal or national security reasons
Nationals from TPS-designated countries must apply for TPS per instructions from the Federal Register, where they will also give directions on how to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
Who Will Benefit?
According to the American Immigration Council, about 34,000 Ukrainian immigrants in the US lack an immigration status and have the potential to benefit from the new TPS designation.
Of those 34,000 Ukrainian immigrants, 19% are in Illinois, 10% are in Michigan, 9% are in New York and 9% are in California with nearly 60% of the potential beneficiaries falling in between the age group 16-44.
At the Law Offices of Wiliani-Malek, Inc., we will work with applicants wherever they are located and are able to conduct virtual consultations. We will also continue to stay updated on the situation as new information gets released.
In the meantime, if you need help with an immigration-related issue, contact our immigration law firm for a consultation at (714) 432-1333.