Here is information about deferred enforced departure (DED) and temporary protected status (TPS) for people from Venezuela.
Deferred enforced departure
On January 19, 2021, former President Trump issued a memorandum to designate DED for Venezuelan nationals. People without Venezuelan nationality but who last habitually resided in Venezuela are also covered by DED.
The DED period covers from January 20, 2021 to July 20, 2022. You can learn more at the USCIS DED page.
Temporary protected status designation
On March 8, the Biden administration designated Temporary Protected Status for people from Venezuela. The TPS is for 18 months, until September 2022.
USCIS encourages eligible individuals to file for the TPS benefit even if they are covered by DED.
Here is what you need to know to be eligible for TPS:
- There is a 180-day registration period from March 9, 2021 to September 5, 2021.
- You are encouraged to apply as early as possible during the registration period.
- You must have continuous residence in the USA since March 8, 2021.
- Individuals will undergo a background check. Anyone who has been convicted of two misdemeanors or one felony can not apply.
- You will need to provide identification, such as a passport or birth certificate from your home country.
- Proof that you have not left the USA since arriving. You can provide documents such as work, school, or utility records.
Visit the USCIS Venezuela webpage for details.
How do I apply for TPS?
To apply for TPS, you will need:
- TPS application (Form I-821). You can find it here.
- Pay a $50 application fee and a $85 biometrics fee.
- Pay a $410 fee for work authorization, if you want it. The employment authorization document (EAD) is Form I-765. You can find the work authorization application here.
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Work authorization under TPS and DED
If you apply for and receive TPS and you are also covered by DED, you do not need to apply for work authorization under both programs.
If you apply for work authorization under TPS, the expiration date will be September 9, 2022. It will be eligible for renewal if the Secretary of Homeland Security extends TPS for Venezuela after September 9, 2022.
If you apply for work authorization under DED, the expiration date will be July 20, 2022. If the President does extend DED, the DED and work authorization with the DED will end on July 20, 2022. That is why it is important that you apply for TPS even if you already have DED.
What if I need legal help?
You can meet with a lawyer or accredited representative
What if I can’t meet with a lawyer? What if I can’t afford a lawyer?
We know many individuals cannot meet with a lawyer. In immigration law there are also many providers who are non-profits who receive training in immigration law. They go through a process with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to become accredited representatives. These representatives must work for a non-profit organization and most have low cost or no cost services. You can search for an accredited representative in the Department of Justice.
Here is more information to help you understand your options. This is not legal advice but instead information to help you consider your choices.
Find help online
Immi helps immigrants understand their legal options. You can use their online screening tool to guide you to your best options. Take the immi interview to see if you qualify for a different immigration status. Immi’s legal information and referral advice are always free.
Applying for asylum
Every year people come to the United States seeking protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution due to:
- Membership in a particular social group
- Political opinion
TPS holders can apply for asylum status, especially if they have been here one year or less. If you have been here for less than a year, you should APPLY NOW.
It is very important that you know the USCIS has recently changed how asylum applications are processed. Now, they are reviewing the most recent applications first. Once you submit an application for asylum, it might be a very short time before your case is heard. Only apply for asylum if you do qualify because otherwise you risk having your case heard and then being deported.
You can fill in the form to apply for asylum (this is a legal form and it would be best if you had a lawyer to help you complete the form).
If you have been in the U.S. more than one year, you can still apply for asylum but it will be more difficult (and it is already hard to win an asylum case).
Find out more about how to apply for asylum.
If you do decide to apply for asylum, you should try to find a pro-bono (low cost or free attorney) to help you. You can search for a pro-bono or low-cost lawyer on ImmigrationLawHelp.com or on the CLINIC legal directory.
Information provided with the support of CLINIC. Other information on this page comes from the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Register, USCIS and other trusted sources. It is intended for guidance and is updated as often as possible. USAHello does not give legal advice, nor are any of our materials intended to be taken as legal advice. If you are looking for a free or low-cost lawyer or legal help, we can help you find free and low-cost legal services.