In light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many Congressman as well as advocacy groups, including the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), have called upon the Biden Administration to pass relief measures for Ukrainian nationals abroad as well as those currently inside the United States. As of today, unfortunately, although there are many rumors circulating, Temporary Protected Status—or “TPS”—has not been enacted yet for Ukraine. Currently, TPS is only available to foreign nationals from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, and Burma. Unless and until TPS is passed, Ukrainian nationals inside the US pursuant to visitor visas should not rely upon the prospect of TPS if they are in danger of falling out of status.
Once a foreign national here on a visitor’s visa stays past his/her authorized period of stay, as indicated on Form I-94, the individual will begin accruing unlawful presence and technically be here without lawful status. There are a number of ramifications to this, including cancellation of one’s visa as well as triggering the three- or ten-year unlawful presence bar upon departure, which legally prohibit the person from coming back to the US. If departure from the US is not practicable, visitors may want to explore or consider extending one’s stay here. The extension is filed on Form I-539 and should be filed before the expiration of the authorized period of stay.
Extensions must be timely filed, not frivolous, or supported by evidence that the individual does intend to return to his/her native country. For more information on whether your situation may qualify for an extension, please call our office to speak with one of our attorneys.
The above is general information only. It is not specific legal advice nor intended to create an attorney client relationship. If you need advice, please consult with an attorney.