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Statutes of Liberty: U.S. announces temporary protected status for Ukrainians

This sponsored column is by Law Office of James Montana PLLC. All questions about it should be directed to James Montana, Esq., Doran Shemin, Esq., and Laura Lorenzo, Esq., practicing attorneys at The Law Office of James Montana PLLC, an immigration-focused law firm located in Arlington, Virginia. The legal information given here is general in nature. If you want legal advice, contact us for an appointment.

As the war in Ukraine continues, the United States government has taken steps to protect Ukrainians in the United States. On March 3, 2022, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, announced that Ukraine has been designated for Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, for 18 months.

Our immigration laws allow the Secretary of Homeland Security to designate specific countries for TPS. The Secretary may designate an entire country or part of a country for TPS if (1) there is an ongoing conflict and returning nationals to that country would pose a threat to their personal safety; (2) if there has been a natural disaster and the country in question cannot handle an influx of returning nationals; or (3) there are existing extraordinary circumstances that prevents a country’s nationals from returning to the country safely.

TPS grantees will benefit from not being physically removed from the United States while their TPS is current. Additionally, they can apply for work authorization and a social security number. In the case of Ukraine, Ukrainian nationals will be eligible for TPS if they were continuously residing in the United States since at least March 1, 2022 and do not have negative discretionary factors.

TPS applicants should be prepared to pay an estimated government filing fee of $545.00 if applying for both TPS and a work permit. Without a work permit, the estimated government filing fee is $135.00. Always check the instructions and USCIS webpage to ensure that you are submitting the correct government filing fee.

Unfortunately, the government has yet to issue an official notice with the Federal Register, which dictates any other specific rules or guidelines for Ukrainian TPS. Unless and until that happens, no one eligible for Ukrainian TPS should apply. Once the government is able to accept Ukrainian TPS applications, we will be here to help.

We also wish to use this opportunity to highlight a good cause that one of our clients brought to our attention.

The St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Silver Spring, Maryland, is collecting monetary, medical, food and personal hygiene donations to aid Ukrainians in Ukraine. They have even created an Amazon list of items that are in high demand so you can donate without making a trip to drop off your donation in person. If you are interested in donating or helping via the church, here is a link to their webpage with all the relevant information.

As always, we welcome comments and will reply to all that we can.

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