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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 (wrapsnet.org)

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 immigrationassistance@catholicmigration.org 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

Uniting for Ukraine Humanitarian Parole Process

 

IMMIGRATION UPDATE AS OF: Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Uniting for Ukraine Humanitarian Parole Process

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 and a Social Security number, 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, another immigration benefit (if qualified), or apply to renew the parole before it expires.

The Uniting for Ukraine program is a streamlined process for displaced Ukrainian citizens and their immediate relatives to apply for humanitarian parole. The program started on April 25, 2022.*

To be eligible, beneficiaries:

  • Had to have resided in Ukraine prior to the Russian invasion (through February 11, 2022) and have been displaced because of the invasion;
  • Be a Ukrainian citizen or an immediate relative of a Ukrainian citizen (spouse, common law partner, or unmarried child under the age of 21, accompanying the principal Ukrainian citizen to the US);
    • Children under 18 must travel to the US with their parents or legal guardians. A child who is not traveling with their parent or legal guardian who arrives at a port of entry may be placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). A child who needs to travel to the US to be reunited with a parent or legal guardian may apply through the standard Form I-131 parole process.
  • Have a valid Ukrainian passport (or be a child listed on the parent’s passport);
  • Have a supporter in the US – a US-based individual in lawful immigration status, acting in personal capacity or on behalf of a non-governmental organization – who demonstrates sufficient resources to “receive, maintain, and support” the beneficiary;
  • 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.

Five-step process:

  • First step: the US-based supporter completes and files Form I-134 online with USCIS, which requires giving biographic and financial information about the supporter and biographic information about the beneficiary.
    • The supporter must be a US citizen, US national, permanent resident, asylee, refugee, parolee, non-immigrant in lawful status, or beneficiary of TPS, deferred action or Deferred Enforced Departure.
    • The supporter must pass security checks and demonstrate the financial ability to support the beneficiary in the US.
    • Types of support may include:
      • Receiving the beneficiary at the port of entry and providing transportation to housing;
      • Ensuring appropriate housing, basic necessities, health care and medical needs; school enrollment, etc.
      • Helping the beneficiary complete necessary applications for employment authorization, Social Security card, and other services.
    • Several supporters may join together to have the financial ability to support one or more Ukrainian beneficiaries. In this case, a primary supporter should file a Form I-134 and include in the filing supplementary evidence demonstrating the identity of, and resources to be provided by, the additional supporters and attach a statement explaining the intent to share responsibility.
    • Organizations may not serve as the supporter on a Form I-134, but an individual representing the organization may. However, the organization can provide financial support information as part of the evidence submitted with the Form I-134.
  • Second step: if the supporter is approved, USCIS e-mails the Ukrainian beneficiary instructions on how to create a myUSCIS account, confirm biographic information and attest to completing all eligibility requirements.
  • Third step: beneficiary confirms prior vaccinations against measles, polio and COVID-19. If not vaccinated, the beneficiary needs to receive a first dose before being approved for travel.
  • Fourth step: if the beneficiary is approved for travel to the US, must make travel arrangements (including pre-departure testing from COVID) and complete travel within 90 days.
  • Fifth step: upon arrival at the US port of entry, beneficiaries will be inspected by US Customs and Border Patrol and considered for parole of up to two years.
    • Beneficiaries will undergo biometric vetting.
    • All beneficiaries two years of age or older will need to be screened for tuberculosis within two weeks of arriving into the US.

After being paroled in the United States, beneficiaries:

  • Can apply for work authorization; if unable to pay the application fee, can apply for a fee waiver.
  • Can apply for a Social Security number and card.
  • Can apply for other immigration benefits, if eligible.
  • Must report changes of address to USCIS within 10 days of moving at USCIS Online Change of Address.
  • Can apply to renew parole before it expires.

*Note for Ukrainian citizens in Mexico: 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.

For more information on the Uniting for Ukraine parole program, go to: Uniting for Ukraine.

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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 immigrationassistance@catholicmigration.org with your name, phone number, languages you speak, and your question.

Click here to download this update as a PDF: Uniting for Ukraine Humanitarian Parole Process

Click here to download the Services to Ukrainian Nationals Flyer in English and Ukrainian

Immigration Update Pertaining to Sudan and Its Designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

On April 19, 2022, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the designation of Sudan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) through October 19, 2023.

What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?
The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may designate a foreign country for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries (or parts of countries), who are already in the United States. Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS.

What does this announcement mean?
The designation of TPS for Sudan allows Sudanese nationals (and individuals without nationality who last resided in Sudan) who have continuously resided in the United States since March 1, 2022 and have had continuous physical presence in the United States since April 19, 2022 to file an initial application for TPS, as long as they meet eligibility requirements. Individuals granted TPS are not removable from the United States, can obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or work permit, Social Security Number, and may be granted travel authorization.

When can I apply for TPS?
The registration period for eligible individuals begins on April 19, 2022 and will remain in effect through October 19, 2023.

How do I apply?
We recommend consulting a lawyer to determine if you are eligible to apply for TPS and to learn more about what documents you need to include in your application.

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

For additional information, you can also contact Action NYC at (800) 354-0365 – Monday through Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. – to connect with City-funded, free and safe immigration legal help.

Click here to download this update as a PDF: Immigration Update Pertaining to Sudan and Its Designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

Immigration Update Pertaining to Cameroon and Its Designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

On April 15, 2022, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that Cameroon will be designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months.

What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?
The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may designate a foreign country for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries (or parts of countries), who are already in the United States. Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS.

What does this announcement mean?
The designation of TPS for Cameroon allows Cameroonian nationals (and individuals without nationality who last resided in the Cameroon) who have continuously resided in the United States since April 14, 2022 to file an initial application for TPS, as long as they meet eligibility requirements. Please note that those who travel to the United States after April 14, 2022, are not be eligible for TPS. Individuals granted TPS are not removable from the United States, can obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or work permit, Social Security Number, and may be granted travel authorization.

When can I apply for TPS?
Please note that because the TPS designation has not been officially published in the Federal Register yet, the application process has NOT started. To confirm the start of the application process, please call the New York State New Americans Hotline – a hotline that provides free information and referrals on immigration matters – at 800-566-7636, Monday through Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.

How do I apply?
We recommend consulting a lawyer to determine if you are eligible to apply for TPS and to learn more about what documents you need to include in your application.

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

For additional information, you can also contact Action NYC at (800) 354-0365 – Monday through Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. – to connect with City-funded, free and safe immigration legal help.

Click here to download this update as a PDF: Immigration Update Pertaining to Cameroon and Its Designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

Immigration Update Pertaining to Ukraine and Its Designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

On April 19, 2022, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the designation of Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) through October 19, 2023.

What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?
The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may designate a foreign country for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries (or parts of countries), who are already in the United States. Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS.

What does this announcement mean?
The designation of TPS for Ukraine allows Ukrainian nationals (and individuals without nationality who last resided in Ukraine) who have continuously resided in the United States since April 11, 2022 and have had continuous physical presence in the United States since April 19, 2022 to file an initial application for TPS, as long as they meet eligibility requirements. Individuals granted TPS are not removable from the United States, can obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or work permit, Social Security Number, and may be granted travel authorization.

When can I apply for TPS?
The registration period for eligible individuals begins on April 19, 2022 and will remain in effect through October 19, 2023.

How do I apply?
We recommend consulting a lawyer to determine if you are eligible to apply for TPS and to learn more about what documents you need to include in your application.

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

For additional information, you can also contact Action NYC at (800) 354-0365 – Monday through Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. – to connect with City-funded, free and safe immigration legal help.

Click here to download this update as a PDF: Immigration Update Pertaining to Ukraine and Its Designation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

Click here to download the Services to Ukrainian Nationals Flyer in English and Ukrainian

Immigration Update Pertaining to South Sudan and the Extension and Redesignation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

On March 2, 2022, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the extension and redesignation of South Sudan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) through November 3, 2023.

What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?
The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may designate a foreign country for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries (or parts of countries), who are already in the United States. Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS.

What does this announcement mean?
The extension of TPS for South Sudan allows South Sudanese nationals (and individuals without nationality who last resided in South Sudan) who have already been granted TPS to re-register for TPS from March 3, 2022 through May 3, 2022.

The redesignation of TPS for South Sudan allows South Sudanese nationals (and individuals without nationality who last resided in South Sudan) who have continuously resided in the United States since March 1, 2022 and have had continuous physical presence in the United States since March 3, 2022 to file an initial application for TPS, as long as they meet eligibility requirements. Individuals granted TPS are not removable from the United States, can obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or work permit, Social Security Number, and may be granted travel authorization.

When can I apply for TPS?
Those who already have TPS, must re-register from March 3, 2022 through May 3, 2022. Those applying for TPS for the first time have from March 3, 2022 to November 3, 2023 to do so.

How do I apply?
We recommend consulting a lawyer to determine if you are eligible to apply for TPS and to learn more about what documents you need to include in your application.

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

For additional information, you can also contact Action NYC at (800) 354-0365 – Monday through Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. – to connect with City-funded, free and safe immigration legal help.

Click here to download this update as a PDF: Immigration Update Pertaining to South Sudan and the Extension and Redesignation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)