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Venezuelans have 60 days to renew protected status

A volunteer sits during a TPS legal clinic for Venezuelans in Charlotte.
Venezuelan Alliance
A volunteer sits during a TPS legal clinic for Venezuelans in Charlotte.

This story was produced through a collaboration between WFAE and La Noticia. You can read it in Spanishat La Noticia. Puedes leer la nota en españolen La Noticia.

Members of the Venezuelan Alliance have been working for months to ensure Venezuelans in the Charlotte area don’t miss their opportunity to establish legal immigration status.

Judith Alves has been part of the outreach efforts to inform Venezuelans about applying for Temporary Protected Status. The program, known as TPS, is meant to provide short-term humanitarian relief to Venezuelans who fled their country and arrived in the U.S. before March 2021.

“We are concerned that a lot of Venezuelans are going to be out of this protection if they don't apply before the deadline is over,” Alves said. “The only alternative right now is to apply for asylum.”

Venezuelans who already hold TPS will have 60 days, from Sept. 8 to Nov. 7, to renew their status and remain in the United States for an additional 18 months. For new applicants, however, the deadline is Friday.

Immigration attorney Mercer Cauley said the different registration deadlines, depending on the applicant's current status, have caused some confusion.

“We’ve had quite a few reaching out. We are getting more people calling to ask what they need to do,” Cauley said. “If you have been put in TPS prior, even if it was as few as just a few weeks ago, you will have to reregister.”

Employment authorization documents will be automatically renewed for current TPS holders until September 2023, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

DHS estimates about 343,000 Venezuelans may qualify to remain in the United States until March 2024 under the TPS program.

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Kayla Young is a Report for America corps member covering issues involving race, equity, and immigration for WFAE and La Noticia, an independent Spanish-language news organization based in Charlotte. Major support for WFAE's Race & Equity Team comes from Novant Health and Wells Fargo.