After Russia’s attack on Ukraine resulted in ongoing war, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it has designated Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the next 18 months. That means that about 30,000 Ukrainian citizens who were already in the U.S. can continue to stay and work in the country for the next year and a half. The designation does not apply to new refugees.

If you are from Ukraine and were already in the U.S. as of March 1, 2022, you may qualify for TPS. This would give you protection from ordinary deportation and also grant you authorization to work in the U.S. during the TPS period.

In order to qualify for TPS status, you must apply, meet all eligibility requirements, and undergo security and background checks. The first step is to file Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. If you want an employment authorization document (EAD), you will also need to file Form I-765, Request for Employment Authorization.

Along with Form I-821, you will need to submit evidence of three things:

  • Your identity and nationality, such as a copy of your passport or birth certificate
  • Your date of entry into the U.S., such as an I-94 Arrival/Departure record
  • Your continuous residence in the U.S. before March 1, 2022, such as employment records, rent receipts or school records

If your documents are not in English, you will need to have them translated into English.

If you are not sure what documents can be used as evidence, talk to your immigration attorney.

You will also be required to submit biometrics (such as a photo, signature, and fingerprints) to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in order to obtain TPS status.

Waiver of inadmissibility

If you believe there is a ground for inadmissibility against you that could prevent your TPS status from being approved, you may be eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility. This can be obtained by filing Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility.

It’s important to talk to an immigration lawyer if you believe you will need a waiver of inadmissibility because the process of getting the waiver requires you to show that the waiver is for humanitarian purposes, to assure family unity, or is otherwise in the public interest.

Contact an experienced immigration attorney right away

The USCIS is currently experiencing long backlogs, so it’s important to get started on your petition right away. An experienced immigration lawyer can help ensure that your petition is complete and contains all the necessary evidence, which can shorten the process. Alison Yew is a bar-certified specialist in immigration law.