The government of Joe Biden announced on Wednesday an 18-month extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuelan immigrants, and offered almost half a million of them the possibility of living and working legally in the country, during a briefing call with journalists.
The decision allows newly arrived Venezuelans to benefit from protection, which is already hosted by some 240,000 Venezuelans in the country.
Previously, only Venezuelan citizens who had arrived in the country before March 2021 could benefit from TPS.
The Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, announced that the extension "takes place due to the extraordinary and temporary conditions in Venezuela that prevent a safe return."
"An 18-month extension and redesignation are necessary based on Venezuela's growing instability and lack of security due to humanitarian, security, political and environmental conditions," Mayorkas said.
The "redesignation provides temporary protection from deportation, as well as work authorization for those who have been in the United States since before July 31, 2023."
Migrants protest the renewal of the TPS program. Jacquelyn Martin / AP
That redesignation means that a high number of Venezuelans who have arrived in the United States in the past two years — the number hovers around 472,000 people, according to DHS figures — could qualify for protection.
TPS protection was initially approved by Biden for Venezuelans in March 2021 and was set to expire on March 3, 2024; With the extension, it is extended by a further 18 months from that date.
The government statement said that those applying for TPS must prove that they are Venezuelan citizens, or people without nationality who had Venezuela as their last country of residence, and who have been in the United States since July 31, 2023 and meet other eligibility criteria.
Extension to Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras
On September 8, the Department of Homeland Security announced an extension from 60 days to 18 months to renew TPS so that migrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan can re-register for the program.
[Biden extends TPS protecting 18,340 immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Nepal by 000 months]
Deadline extended to renew TPS; These are the new dates
Sept. 9, 202300:32
The announcement came after Salvadoran organizations and community leaders expressed concern that most of the country's nearly 190,000 TPS recipients had not yet completed the paperwork to re-enroll in the program.
In June, the government had extended TPS for 18 months to migrants from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Nepal, the Department of Homeland Security announced on its website, to "offer security and protection to current beneficiaries of the program" who "are already in the United States and cannot return [to their countries] due to the impact of environmental disasters."
- El Salvador. It ran from September 10, 2023 to March 9, 2025. It protects about 239,000 beneficiaries.
- Honduras. It was extended from January 6, 2024 to July 5, 2025. It benefits approximately 76,000 migrants.
- Nicaragua. It ran from January 6, 2024 to July 5, 2025. It affects about 4,000 current beneficiaries.
TPS re-registration has opened for immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua
July 20, 202301:48
Since January 2021, the Biden administration has significantly expanded the scope of temporary protected status: nearly 670,000 people from 16 countries are currently protected or newly eligible for it, according to a Pew Research Center report in April.
The list of countries with TPS includes Afghanistan, Cameroon, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Haiti, Honduras, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Ukraine, Venezuela and Yemen.