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Immigration Options for Ukrainian Nationals


IMMIGRATION UPDATE AS OF: Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Immigration Options for Ukrainian Nationals

Below are several immigration options for Ukrainian nationals. Some are accessible only for those who are in the United States, while others are also accessible from abroad, or only from abroad. This list is not exhaustive; Ukrainian nationals should consult with immigration attorneys to identify appropriate options.

TPS. On March 3, 2022, the Biden Administration announced that Ukraine would be designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) because the Russian invasion made it unsafe for the country’s nationals to return safely to their homeland. Ukrainian nationals (and individuals without nationality who last resided in Ukraine) who have continuously resided in the US since April 11, 2022 and have had continuous physical presence in the US since April 19, 2022 can file an initial application for TPS as long as they meet other eligibility requirements. The registration period started on April 19, 2022 and will go through October 19, 2023. Those granted TPS are not removable from the US, can obtain a work permit, Social Security number, and may be granted travel authorization.

Asylum/Refugee Status. A person in the US (or at the US border) who can prove past persecution or a reasonable fear of future persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group by the government or a group that the government is unable or unwilling to control can apply for asylum.

A person who is abroad can seek refugee status on the same grounds. Refugee referrals from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), US embassies, and certain non-governmental organizations are processed through the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). This is typically a lengthy process.

On March 24, 2022, the White House announced “plans to welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing Russia’s aggression through the full range of legal pathways, including the US Refugee Admissions Program.” The Uniting for Ukraine program announced on April 21, 2022, is part of this commitment.

In addition, the White House announced on April 21 that the Department of State (DOS) will expand referral mechanisms for Ukrainian citizens and others fleeing the war to be considered for permanent refugee resettlement through USRAP. To do so, the US will work with European partners, the UNHCR and non-governmental organizations to identify particularly vulnerable populations including women and girls, children, older persons with special needs, members of ethnic and religious minority groups, LGBTQI+ persons, persons with disabilities, medically fragile individuals, and stateless persons.

Humanitarian Parole. Humanitarian parole is a temporary admission to the US for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. Parole allows the person to apply for work permit, but it is not an immigration status and does not provide a path to legal permanent residence. Once in the US, an individual who has been paroled can apply for asylum or renew the parole before it expires.

The Uniting for Ukraine program, a streamlined process for displaced Ukrainian citizens and their immediate relatives to apply for humanitarian parole, started on April 25, 2022. To be eligible, applicants must have resided in Ukraine prior to the Russian invasion on February 11, 2022 and have been displaced because of the invasion, have a financial supporter in the US, complete vaccinations and other public health requirements, and pass biometric and biographic screening. Those who are approved will be allowed to travel to the US at their own expense, where they may be paroled for a period of up to two years and will be eligible for work authorization. Please note that at his time, children under 18 must travel to the US with their parents or legal guardians.

US supporters can be either individuals or entities, including US citizens and representatives of non-governmental organizations. Supporters will be required to demonstrate the ability to offer financial support to each of the individuals sponsored by filing Form I-134 on line. They will also have to pass security background checks.

Over the past few months, many Ukrainians who traveled to Mexico and presented themselves at the US southern border were granted humanitarian parole in on a case-by-case basis. However, starting on April 25, 2022, Ukrainians who present at the US border without a valid visa or other pre-authorized travel will be denied entry and referred to apply through the Uniting for Ukraine program.

Lautenberg Program. Protects persecuted religious minorities from the former Soviet Union, including Jews, Evangelical Christians (Baptists, Pentecostals, Seventh Day Adventists, and others), Jehovah’s Witnesses, Ukrainian Greek Catholics, and members of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. A family reunification program allows certain people who live legally in the US to bring in immediate family members who belong to these religious minorities through a resettlement agency.

A list of resettlement agencies is available at R&P Affiliate Directory (May 2021).xlsx (

On April 21, the White House announced that DOS will provide more resources in Europe to process Ukrainian citizens for refugee resettlement under the Lautenberg program.

Family-based Immigration.

  • A US citizen can petition for an immediate relative – a spouse, parent, or unmarried child under the age of 21 – to get an immigrant visa abroad or adjust status in the United States (i.e. to obtain a green card). A US citizen present abroad may file a family petition for an immediate relative at the nearest US embassy or consulate.
  • A US citizen can also petition for siblings, sons, and daughters who are married or over 21 years old. However, this process takes much longer than the one for immediate relatives.
  • A United States permanent resident can petition for a spouse, an unmarried child under 21, or a son or daughter over 21. This process also takes longer than the one for immediate relatives.
  • The US Consulate in Frankfurt will process all Ukrainian immigrant visas (except adoptions will be processed in Warsaw).

Employment-based Immigration.

  • A United States employer can petition for a foreign worker to get an immigrant visa (green card).

Other measures available on a case-by-case basis.

  • Late applications for change/extension of non-immigrant status may be excused if delay is caused by “extraordinary circumstances;”
  • People paroled into the United States may be re-paroled;
  • Consideration of fee waiver requests due to inability to pay;
  • Expedited processing of advance parole requests, off-campus work permits for students on F1 visas experiencing severe economic hardship, replacement of lost or damaged immigration or travel documents, and of other petitions and applications.

Non-immigrant visas for visitors, students, etc. Ukrainian nationals can apply at US consulate or embassy in the country where present, depending on appointment availability. On April 21, 2022, the White House announced that European embassies and consulates will increase the number of nonimmigrant visa appointments and expedite visa appointments for individuals with humanitarian, medical, or other extraordinary circumstances.

If you have questions, you can call Catholic Migration Services at (718) 236-3000, extension 2015, extension 2018, or you can e-mail us at with your name, phone number, languages you speak, and your question.

Click here to download this update as a PDF: Immigration Options for Ukrainian Nationals
Click here to download the Services to Ukrainian Nationals Flyer in English and Ukrainian

Recent Updates Pertaining to Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan

November 12, 2018

Presione aquí para la versión en Español
Peze la pou tradui nan Kreyol Ayisyen

Recent Updates to Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
On October 3, 2018 a court temporarily stopped the U.S. Government from terminating Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for four countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan. This ruling means that, for now, people with TPS from those four countries can lawfully remain in the United Status. This is only a temporary decision, it is not permanent, which means, it can change at any time. The ruling does not impact the termination of TPS for Guinea, Liberia, Honduras, Nepal or Sierra Leone.

What this announcement means for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Recipients:
As of January 2018, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) had been terminated for 7 countries: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador. The injunction from the California court stops the government from deporting protected immigrants from the countries of Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador while the case continues.

The Judge prohibited the government from terminating TPS for these four countries pending the outcome of the litigation.

This decision does not allow people from these countries who had not previously applied for TPS to apply for TPS now.

On October 31, 2018 The Department of Homeland Security publicly stated that Nicaraguan and Sudanese TPS holders who re-registered during the last re-registration period for their country received an automatic extension of TPS until April 2, 2019.

Nicaraguan and Sudanese TPS holders whose cases have already been approved and who have Employment Authorization Documents (“work permits”) set to expire will receive automatic extensions of their work authorization through April 2, 2019.

Automatic extension of work authorization documents apply to TPS holders whose cases have already been approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as well as TPS holders with pending applications.

More information about TPS for Haiti and El Salvador will be provided if the court case continues past the termination dates for Haiti (July 22, 2019) and El Salvador (September 9, 2019).

Catholic Migration Services urges anyone who received TPS for Guinea, Liberia, Nepal, or Sierra Leone to call our office and schedule an appointment for a free legal consultation.

What happens next:
The court case will continue, and there may eventually be a court decision or settlement that resolves whether TPS can be terminated, and if so, the circumstances for such termination. Until then, the U.S. government cannot terminate TPS for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan.

How to Contact Us for Free Legal Advice:
If you are a TPS recipient for Guinea, Liberia, Nepal, or Sierra Leone and have questions or concerns, please call Catholic Migration Services in Brooklyn at (718) 236-3000 or in Queens at (347) 472-3500 for free legal advice about how this court decision may impact you. Our office hours are Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. For additional information, visit our website and follow us on social media via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @CMSBQ.

You can also obtain free legal advice by calling 311 and asking for “Action NYC.”

Download this update as a PDF.

De Blasio Administration Allocates $4.1 Million To Provide Legal Assistance For Migrant Children And Separated Families

In an announcement from the Office of the Mayor last week, the DeBlasio Administration confirmed it will allocate $4.1 Million to provide legal assistance for Migrant Children and separated families. The funds will be distributed to a network of legal service providers, including Catholic Migration Services. In response to the Mayor’s renewed commitment to serve migrant children, both unaccompanied minors and separated children in New York City, Sharone Kaufman, Managing Attorney with Catholic Migration Services “…is proud to be part of a city that is committed to fighting for the rights of vulnerable New Yorkers wherever they may come from.”

Read the full announcement from the Office of the Mayor: De Blasio Administration Allocates $4.1 Million To Provide Legal Assistance For Migrant Children And Separated Families

Read the full story via am New York: Migrant children still in NYC to get free legal assistance

Queens Immigrants Attend Resource Fair and Legal Clinic

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, District Attorney Richard Brown, and the Queens Immigration Task Force held their Annual Immigrant Know Your Rights Week Resource Fair and Legal Clinic on Thursday, June 28th at Queens Center Mall. Over 30 organizations and agencies participated in the resource fair and connected Queens immigrants with information for city services, nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups. A free legal clinic provided confidential consultations in areas of immigration, housing, employment, and domestic violence. Attorneys from Catholic Migration Services were available for legal consultations and an outreach team informed New Yorkers about the organization’s legal services.


Queens Immigrants Attend Resource Fair and Legal Clinic

Queens residents stop by the Immigrant Resource Fair for a chance to learn about new services, organizations, and agencies.

Queens Immigrants Attend Resource Fair and Legal Clinic

Queens immigrants chat with the outreach team of Catholic Migration Services to learn about the legal services and know your rights education available through the organization.

Katz announces inaugural Know Your Rights Week campaign

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz’s Immigration Task Force is organizing a series of free informational “Know Your Rights” workshops and confidential legal clinics for immigrants from June 25 to June 29 and Catholic Migration Services has partnered with with the Borough President to bring these much needed services to the community. Taking part in a resource fair and one-on-one consultations, immigrants are encouraged to attend, seek resources and legal advice on immigration, housing and workers’ rights.

Read the full article via the Times Ledger: Katz announces inaugural Know Your Rights Week campaign

Vice Chair Crowley, Assemblyman Moya Host Immigration Forum


On Wednesday, April 8th, Joe Crowley, Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, and NYS Assembly Member Francisco Moya hosted an immigration forum in Jackson Heights, Queens. During this meeting leaders and experts on immigration discussed the status of President Obama’s executive action on immigration, the future of the NY DREAM Act, fraud prevention, the Central American Minors program, and different benefits and services available to immigrants in New York. This meeting provided members of the local community an opportunity to receive information and ask questions on the various programs that effect immigrants. CMS Immigration Counselor Marisol Canales was a member of the panel, she discussed CMS’ role in empowering immigrant communities and providing valuable resources and services. Other participating organizations included the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Legal Aid Society, SCO Family of Services, International Rescue Committee, Make the Road New York, Emerald Isle Immigration Center,, Queens Community House, and CUNY Citizenship Now. New York State Senator Jose Peralta also joined the meeting held by Crowley and Moya.