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.
What is Uniting for Ukraine humanitarian parole?
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.
Who can apply for Ukraine humanitarian parole?
You can apply for humanitarian parole through Uniting for Ukraine if you meet the following requirements:
- You are a Ukrainian citizen or you are the spouse or child of a Ukrainian citizen.
- You were living in Ukraine before the Russian invasion (February 11, 2022).
- You had to leave your home because of the invasion.
- You have a sponsor in the United States who will provide Declaration of Financial Support to show they are able to support you for two years.
- You will complete all vaccinations and other public health requirements.
- You are able to pass a background and security screening.
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.
How can I apply for Uniting for Ukraine humanitarian parole?
The process for the Uniting for Ukraine program is different from other humanitarian parole programs.
To apply for the Uniting for Ukraine program:
- Your U.S. supporter must first file Form I-134 Declaration of Financial Support with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). They will need to provide your contact information. There is no fee for this application.
- Your supporter’s documentation will be checked by the U.S. government. They will also have a security screening. During this time, USCIS may ask for more evidence to make a decision.
- When a decision has been made, you will receive an email from USCIS.
- If you are approved, the email will give you instructions for setting up an online account. You will be asked to confirm your information and answer questions about your family relationships and your vaccination history.
- After this is processed, you will receive an email with your authorization to travel to the U.S.
- You are responsible for your own travel arrangements. You must travel to the U.S. within 90 days of receiving authorization.
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.
What if I am denied?
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.
What if I am already in the United States?
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.
Can I apply at the U.S. border?
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.
What is a supporter or sponsor?
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.
How can I become a supporter?
Learn more about becoming a sponsor with our partner Welcome.US.
What happens after I receive humanitarian parole?
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.
Can I work in the United States?
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.
Can I travel outside the United States?
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.
Are there other benefits available?
Benefit options were announced on May 26, 2022. More Information coming soon.
Find social services, health care, English classes, legal services, and more with the FindHello app. This national database will soon be available in Ukrainian.
Learn more about how to find free and low-cost legal services.
Do you need other information? USAHello is developing a translated information hub for Ukrainians in the United States. It is important for us to hear what information you need. Email us at: [email protected]
The information on this page comes from trusted sources, including DHS.gov and USCIS.gov. We aim to offer information in plain language that is easy to understand and updated regularly. This page is for guidance. USAHello does not give legal advice, nor are any of our materials intended to be taken as legal advice.