Last week, President Biden announced United for Ukraine, a program offering refuge to citizens of Ukraine who are fleeing the ongoing war crisis with Russia. The President has committed to welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainians to the United States with this new path which is designed for Ukrainian citizens and their immediate relatives who are outside of the U.S. The program would grant eligible individuals to stay in the United States temporarily or a period of two-years and the ability to apply for employment authorization in the U.S. as long as they have a U.S.-based sponsor to petition for them. The U.S based supporter should file Form I-134, Declaration of Financial Support with USCIS. From there, the government will examine the supporter’s financial stability to determine if they are able to subsidize the Ukrainian citizen’s time in the U.S.
“We are proud to deliver on President Biden’s commitment to welcome 100,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing Russian aggression to the United States. The Ukrainian people continue to suffer immense tragedy and loss as a result of Putin’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on their country,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “DHS will continue to provide relief to the Ukrainian people, while supporting our European allies who have shouldered so much as the result of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.”
Who Meets the Supporter Requirement?
In order to qualify to support a Ukrainian citizen, you must have lawful status in the United States or be a parolee or beneficiary of deferred action or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) and have passed a security screening and been determined eligible based on your financial standing.
The following would be considered eligible to be a supporter:
- U.S. citizens and nationals;
- Lawful permanent residents, lawful temporary residents, and conditional permanent residents;
- Nonimmigrants in lawful status (that is, who maintain the nonimmigrant status and have not violated any of the terms or conditions of the nonimmigrant status);
- Asylees, refugees, and parolees;
- TPS holders; and
- Beneficiaries of deferred action (including DACA) or Deferred Enforced Departure.
Eligibility for Ukrainian Citizens Seeking Parole
Ukrainian citizens (or non-Ukrainian immediate relatives) outside of the U.S. can be considered for parole under Bidens’s United for Ukraine initiative.
To qualify, the Ukrainian must:
- Have resided in Ukraine immediately before the Russian invasion (through Feb. 11, 2022) and were displaced as a result of the invasion
- Have a valid Ukrainian passport
- If you are not a Ukrainian citizen, you must be an immediate relative of a Ukrainian citizen beneficiary of United for Ukraine with a valid passport
- Your supporter in the U.S. must have filed Form I-134 and have sufficient financial means to support you
- Undergo biometric security checks
Who is considered an immediate relative?
These include the spouse or common-law partner of a Ukrainian citizen; or their unmarried children under the age of 21. If a child is under 18, they must be traveling with a parent or legal guardian in order to use this process.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I am in the United States already can I be considered for parole under Uniting for Ukraine?
No, but you could be eligible for Temporary Protected Status. Check this post here for details.
Can I apply for parole myself without a supporter?
No, a Ukrainian beneficiary cannot apply for themselves. The supporter has to file Form I-134 on their behalf.
What should I do if I have a pending request for Parole with USCIS on Form I-131?
If you currently have a pending request but want to apply for United for Ukraine, you should have your supporter submit Form I-134. “USCIS will provide petitioners who currently have a pending Form I-131 for a Ukrainian beneficiary with a notice explaining the process to be considered for parole under Uniting for Ukraine and the actions they must take if they would like to withdraw their Form I-131 in light of the new Uniting for Ukraine process.”
What happens after my supporter files Form I-134?
After the supporter files the form, USCIS will review the information to ensure they meet the financial requirements and that the Ukrainian beneficiary has passed the background check. Additional information may be requested, if necessary. Once USCIS approves it, the Ukrainian beneficiary will receive an email with directions on how to set up the USCIS account and be instructed to confirm biographic info/attest to the requirements. If USCIS finds that Form I-134 is not sufficient, then you will receive an email detailing that as well.
When am I authorized to travel to the U.S?
You will receive an email after confirming your biographic information and completing the other requirements. Check your myUSCIS account for the results of your authorization to travel. You are responsible for funding your own travel to the United States.
When can I apply for employment authorization?
You are eligible to apply for employment authorization after you are paroled in the U.S. To apply for discretionary employment authorization, you must submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, using the (c)(11) category code with the required fee or apply for a fee waiver.