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This immigration update is brought to you by Docketwise immigration software and our video podcast Immigration Uncovered.  I'm James Pittman, and today we're bringing you a comprehensive update on Temporary Protected Status, or TPS extension and redesignation for Ukraine. TPS is an immigration program in the United States that offers temporary immigration status to individuals from countries facing exceptional and short-term challenges, such as armed conflicts, natural disasters, or other crises. 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recently announced a significant extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukraine. This extension spans 18 months, commencing on October 20, 2023, and extending through April 19, 2025. The decision to extend TPS comes as a response to the ongoing armed conflict and the extraordinary and temporary conditions in Ukraine, conditions that continue to make it unsafe for individuals to return to their homeland.

In addition to the extension, DHS has also officially redesignated TPS for Ukraine for the same compelling reasons. This means that Ukrainian nationals and individuals who last habitually resided in Ukraine, residing in the United States as of August 16, 2023, are now eligible for TPS. This expansion aims to provide safety and protection to those who have found themselves in the United States due to the ongoing challenges in Ukraine.

Alongside this announcement, DHS has introduced a Special Student Relief notice. This notice is particularly significant for F-1 nonimmigrant students whose country of citizenship is Ukraine. It enables these students to request employment authorization, work additional hours while school is in session, and reduce their course load while maintaining F-1 status throughout the TPS designation period.

To truly grasp the gravity of this decision, it's essential to understand the conditions in Ukraine. Ukraine is currently grappling with the consequences of Russia's expanded military invasion, the largest conventional military action in Europe since World War II. This invasion has tragically led to high numbers of civilian casualties and reports of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Russian military forces and officials. Moreover, it has created a humanitarian crisis, causing significant numbers of individuals to flee their homes and resulting in damage to civilian infrastructure, leaving many without electricity and access to medical services. These conditions persist, making it impossible for Ukrainian nationals and habitual residents to safely return.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas has underscored the urgency of this decision, stating, 'Russia’s ongoing military invasion of Ukraine and the resulting humanitarian crisis requires that the United States continue to offer safety and protection to Ukrainians who may not be able to return to their country. We will continue to offer our support to Ukrainian nationals through this temporary form of humanitarian relief.

This extension will enable approximately 26,000 current beneficiaries to retain TPS through April 19, 2025, provided they continue to meet TPS eligibility requirements. Additionally, an estimated 166,700 additional individuals may now be eligible for TPS under the redesignation of Ukraine. 

If you are a current beneficiary and wish to extend your Temporary Protected Status, you must re-register during the 60-day re-registration period, which is open from August 21, 2023, through October 20, 2023. This ensures you maintain your TPS and employment authorization without any gaps. Recognizing that not all re-registrants may receive a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD) before their current EAD expires, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is automatically extending EADs previously issued through October 19, 2024.

USCIS will continue to process pending applications filed under previous TPS designations for Ukraine. If you have a pending Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, or a related Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, you do not need to refile these applications. If approved, you will be granted TPS through April 19, 2025, and issued an EAD with the same expiration date.

For those seeking TPS under Ukraine's redesignation, the initial registration period is open from August 21, 2023, through April 19, 2025. You can submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, online. When filing your TPS application, you can also request an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by submitting a completed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with your Form I-821 or separately at a later date. Both forms can be submitted online.

For detailed information on eligibility criteria, timelines, and application procedures, please refer to the Federal Register notice, which provides comprehensive guidance for current beneficiaries seeking re-registration, new applicants, and those applying for an EAD.

Thank you for watching this critical update on Ukraine's Temporary Protected Status extension and redesignation. As always, we encourage you to follow the guidelines provided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on its website if this news applies to you or in the case of immigration lawyers, your clients. Stay informed, stay engaged, and stay tuned for more immigration-related insights with our video updates and on our podcast Immigration Uncovered.

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