On April 21, 2022, the United States announced the “Uniting for Ukraine” program. This program allows Ukrainians to come to the U.S. through humanitarian parole. This program provides Ukrainians temporary protection in the U.S. for up to two years.
Humanitarian parole allows people in urgent need to come to the U.S. temporarily without a visa.
Uniting for Ukraine is a special humanitarian parole program set up for Ukrainians who have had to flee their homes because of the Russian invasion. Those who apply are called a beneficiary. If approved under Uniting for Ukraine, you will be able to come to the U.S. for up to two years. You will also be eligible to work in the United States during that time.
To apply for the Uniting for Ukraine program, you must have someone in the U.S. who is able to support you during your stay. This person is called a supporter or a sponsor.
You can apply for humanitarian parole through Uniting for Ukraine if you meet the following requirements:
Children under the age of 18 must travel with a parent or legal guardian under this program. If a child is coming to join a parent already in the U.S. they can apply through the regular humanitarian parole program using Form I-131, Application for Travel Document.
The process for the Uniting for Ukraine program is different from other humanitarian parole programs.
To apply for the Uniting for Ukraine program:
The U.S. government is working to make this process fast. However, we do not yet know how long the application process will take. It is important to check your email, including your spam folder, regularly so that you do not miss any communications.
If Form I-134 is not approved, you will be told by email. You can apply again by having your supporter, or a different supporter, file a new Form I-134. You may need more than one supporter in order to show enough financial support for your application.
Uniting for Ukraine humanitarian parole is for people outside of the United States who want to come to the USA. If you are already inside the USA, you may be eligible to apply for Temporary Protected Status Ukraine (TPS).
Relatives of people already in the United States may be eligible for permanent resettlement through the Lautenberg Program. The government is currently looking into options for expanding protections for Ukrainians and others who have fled Ukraine under this program. More information is expected soon.
The U.S. government has asked people fleeing Ukraine not to travel to a U.S. border. If possible, you should file your application and wait for approval before traveling to the U.S.
The U.S. is not currently following international laws to protect people seeking asylum. If you attempt to come to the U.S. through Mexico you may be denied and returned to dangerous conditions inside Mexico.
To apply for humanitarian parole through Uniting for Ukraine, you must have at least one person inside the U.S. who can sponsor your application.
A supporter or sponsor is someone who can show that they have enough money to support you during your time in the U.S. They will also be asked about the other ways they plan to help you when you are here. Examples include finding housing, helping you apply for work authorization, and helping you find a job and learn English.
A supporter can be an individual or a group of people. It can not be an organization. It can be a family member, friend, or even people you have never met as long as they are willing to commit to supporting you. They must have lawful status in the United States which includes citizens, green card holders, asylees, refugees, parolees, and TPS holders. They will have to pass a security and background check.
The supporter(s) must complete Form I-134 and submit evidence of their finances. If you have more than one sponsor, one person will file Form I-134 and they will provide information about the other sponsors in that application.
After you receive authorization to travel, you will have 90 days to come to the United States. When you arrive in the U.S. you will begin the process of getting settled with the help of your sponsor. This is a big transition and you may feel overwhelmed. Give yourself time to adjust and seek support if you need it.
Once you are paroled into the United States, you will be able to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (also called an EAD card). This will allow you to work in the United States. Your EAD card will only be for the length of your parole status. You can apply with USCIS using Form I-765. After you receive your EAD, it is advised that you apply for a social security card.
If you need to leave the country after arriving in the United States, you must apply for a special travel document called advance parole. This may be granted if you can demonstrate an urgent need for your travel. If you leave the country without receiving this approval, you may not be permitted to return. You can apply with USCIS using Form I-131.
You can have TPS at the same time as another immigration status.
You can apply for asylum, lawful permanent status (green card), or other protected status if you meet the requirements for those applications.
An immigration legal representative can help you complete your application and review all of your immigration options.
The Embassy of Ukraine can offer more information. You can contact the Embassy of Ukraine at (202) 349-2963 or visit its consular offices in Washington D.C., New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago.
USCIS offers other immigration services that may help people affected by extreme situations, including the invasion in Ukraine.