On April 21, 2022, the Biden administration implemented a humanitarian benefit for Ukrainian’s nationals fleeing from the Russian invasion.
This program known as Uniting for Ukraine allows individuals who hold a lawful status in the United States including paroled noncitizens or beneficiaries of deferred action or Deferred Enforced Departure who pass security and background vetting and demonstrate sufficient financial resources to receive maintain and support individuals whom they commit to support in the United States for the duration of the supporter’s status.
Supporters can include:
- S. Citizens or Nationals.
- Legal Permanent Residents and Conditional Permanent Residents.
- Nonimmigrants in a lawful status.
- Noncitizens granted Asylee or refugee status and parole status.
- TPS Holders.
- DACA beneficiaries.
Qualifying beneficiaries include:
A Ukrainian citizen or their non-Ukrainian immediate family member who is outside the United States and who may be considered for parole.
Immediate family members include:
- A spouse or common-law partner of a Ukraine citizen.
- Unmarried children under the age of 21 of a Ukrainian citizen.
- Furthermore, to be considered for parole under the program, the beneficiary must have a supporter who files a form I-134 on their behalf.
Beneficiaries become eligible when:
- The Beneficiary resided in Ukraine immediately before he Russian invasion through February 11, 2022, and was displaced as a result of the invasion.
- The Beneficiary is a Ukrainian citizen and possess a valid Ukraine passport. This includes children who are on a parent’s passport.
- If the family member is not a Ukraine citizen, the family member must be an immediate family member of a Ukrainian citizen beneficiary of Uniting for Ukraine with a valid passport.
- The beneficiary must have a supporter who filed a Form I-134 on their behalf and vetted by USCIS.
- The beneficiary must also clear biographic and biometric security checks.
Children under the age of 18 must be travelling to the United States with their parent or legal guardian.
The process does not include Ukrainian citizens present in the United States. Ukrainian citizens present in the United States may qualify for Temporary Protected Status, “TPS.” We discuss TPS for Ukrainians here.
Supporters of qualifying beneficiaries are eligible if:
- The Supporter is willing to receive the beneficiary upon arrival in the United States and be willing to transport and provide initial housing.
- The Supporter is willing to ensure that the beneficiary has safe and appropriate housing for the duration of their parole including initial basic necessities.
- The Supporter is willing to help the beneficiary complete necessary paperwork for employment authorization, for a social security card and for services for which the beneficiary may be eligible.
- The Supporter is willing to ensure that the beneficiary’s health care and medical needs are met for the duration of the parole.
- The Supporter is willing to assist the beneficiary with accessing education, learning English, securing employment and enrolling children in school.
Only supporters can file I-134 which is filed online. The supporter must upload supplementary evidence demonstrating the identity of the supporter and financial resources to support the beneficiary.
After the form I-134 is filed USCIS will evaluate the form and supporting evidence to ensure that the supporter has sufficient financial resources to support the Ukrainian beneficiary for the parole period.
If the application is approved the beneficiary will receive an email from USCIS with instructions to set up an online account to confirm biographic information and attest to completing all requirements including attesting to the understanding of the family relationship requirements for children under the age of 18 and attesting that the beneficiary has completed vaccine requirements or is eligible for an exception from vaccine requirements for measles, polio and the first dose of an authorized COVID-19 vaccine.
Upon arrival to the United States, the beneficiary will need to attest to receiving a medical screening for tuberculosis and receipt of the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination within 90 days.
The beneficiaries will then receive an email to check their account for the result of the application and if approved the authorization to travel. Once authorized to travel the beneficiary will have 90 days to complete travel to the United Sates.
This process enables approved Ukrainians to travel to the United States to be considered for parole for a period of up to 2 years and be eligible to apply for employment authorization while in the Untied States.
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