Uniting for Ukraine was launched by the U.S. government on April 21, 2022 to provide a safe and orderly means for Ukrainians displaced by conflict in Ukraine to join supporters in the U.S., along with the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) and normal immigrant and non-immigrant visa processing.
What is this program?
Uniting for Ukraine allows eligible individuals to temporarily join a supporter (sponsor) in the U.S. who has offered to sponsor them for two years. Entry into the U.S. is granted as humanitarian parole - a legal mechanism whereby the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may grant entry to individuals who are otherwise not eligible for admission to the U.S. for a temporary period for urgent humanitarian need or to serve the public interest. Under Uniting for Ukraine, DHS will grant humanitarian parole on a case-by-case basis for a period of up to two years.
Who is eligible for humanitarian parole under Uniting for Ukraine?
To be eligible for humanitarian parole under Uniting for Ukraine, applicants will need to:
- Have resided in Ukraine as of February 11, 2022 and be displaced
- Have a valid Ukrainian passport, or be included on a parent's passport
- Complete vaccinations and other public health requirements
- Submit to biometrics collection, biographic screening, and security vetting, and
- Have a sponsor in the U.S. whose Form I-134 Affidavit of Support has been approved by USCIS.
Ukrainians already present in the U.S. cannot apply for humanitarian parole under this program, nor can children who are not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
How do I apply?
The application process can be completed through the USCIS on-line portal:
U.S.-based sponsors begin the application process by completing their Form I-134 Affidavit of Support online: https://www.uscis.gov/i-134
- Be U.S.-based individuals in lawful status, or have parole, deferred action (such as beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), or Deferred Enforced Departure
- Pass security and background vetting, and
- Demonstrate sufficient financial resources to "receive, maintain, and support" the Ukrainians they commit to support for two years.
An organization may provide financial support for a Ukrainian seeking parole, but an individual must sign Form I-134 as the sponsor.
Once USCIS reviews and approves the sponsor's completed form, Ukrainian beneficiaries will receive an email from USCIS with instructions to set up an account on www.my.USCIS.gov and other next steps.
There is no application fee for individuals applying for Uniting for Ukraine.
What is humanitarian parole?
A parolee is provided with permission to enter and remain in the U.S. for a certain period of time.
Parolees are not entitled to obtain lawful permanent residence (a green card) or any other form of immigration status. Some parolees may qualify for a particular form of immigration status, which may include a pathway to lawful permanent residence and eventually U.S. citizenship.
What will happen at the end of the parole period?
At the end of the parole period, if the individual has not identified and taken steps to pursue a form of immigration status, they will begin to accrue unlawful presence and be subject to removal proceedings. If work authorization had been granted, it will also expire at the end of the parole period.
Ukrainian parolees wishing to remain in the U.S. beyond the parole period should contact a qualified legal practiioner to understand their options.
*Only Ukrainians who entered the U.S. on or prior to April 11, 2022 and have maintained continuous presences in the U.S. would be eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
Can parolees work in the U.S.?
Yes, Ukrainian parolees can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) with USCIS.
Do Ukrainian parolees have access to resettlement services and benefits?
No, individuals granted humanitarian parole under Uniting for Ukraine do not (as of April 25, 2022) have access to resettlement benefits.