** LEGAL UPDATE **
Venezuela was, in 2021, added to the list of countries whose residents could, if they happened to be in the U.S. on a date when disaster struck their home country, apply for what's called "Temporary Protected Status" or TPS. While the original designation was scheduled to run out in September 2022, the Biden Administration recently extended it through March 10, 2024. Unfortunately, it will help only people who applied for TPS during the original registration period (and they will need to re-register).
This TPS designation was in addition to, and to some extent overlapped with, the Trump Administration's designation of Venezuela for Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status.
In fact, the severe humanitarian emergency created by the Nicolás Maduro government has been going on for years. The Department of Homeland Security explained in the original Federal Register notice (FRN) that it based its TPS designation on the country's economic contraction, inflation and hyperinflation, deepening poverty, high unemployment, shortages of food and medicine, severely weakened medical system, collapse in basic services, human rights abuses and repression, crime and violence, corruption, and more. The extension is presumably based on similar reasons.
The extended TPS designation will will go into effect September 10, 2022 and last for 18 months, through March 10, 2024.
The eligibility criteria for anyone seeking to apply for or renew their TPS, including Venezuelan nationals (and individuals without nationality who last habitually resided in Venezuela), are set by law in I.N.A. § 244(c)(1)-(2), 8 U.S.C. § 1254a(c)(1)-(2). The criteria include that the person:
This unfortunately leaves out many Venezuelans who either arrived later or were summarily expelled at the U.S. border or sent to Mexico to await processing of their asylum claims in U.S. immigration courts. The U.S. government estimates that around 343,000 people will be able to make use of this extended TPS designation.
To apply, you must submit an application on Form I-821 and pay the filing fee (or submit a Request for a Fee Waiver on Form I-912) and possibly pay the biometric services (fingerprinting) fee, as well. Eligible persons can also apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which is an identity card allowing one to work in the United States. The form for this is the I-765.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published a Federal Register notice detailing how to re-register. If you applied before but haven't yet received an answer, word is that USCIS will continue to process your application, and you do not need to file again. If USCIS approves your original application, it will simply grant you TPS through March 10, 2024.
Also see USCIS's TPS page for Venezuela.
Effective Date: July 11, 2022