President Biden Announces the “Uniting for Ukraine” Humanitarian Parole Program
Understanding the "Uniting for Ukraine" Humanitarian Parole Program
- What is the Uniting for Ukraine program?
President Biden recently announced the Uniting for Ukraine program, which is an expedited process for Ukrainian refugees to seek humanitarian parole in the U.S. Under the program, a U.S. based financial supporter can sponsor a Ukrainian national to come to the U.S. pursuant to humanitarian parole.
- Who can be a supporter?
Beginning April 25, 2022, U.S.-based individuals and entities can apply through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website to sponsor Ukrainian citizens for humanitarian parole.
A supporter can be an individual who holds lawful status in the U.S. (including a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident), or a parolee or beneficiary of deferred action or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). Individuals who can meet the supporter requirement include:
- U.S. citizens and nationals;
- Lawful permanent residents (i.e. LPRs or green card holders), lawful temporary residents, and conditional permanent residents;
- Nonimmigrants who maintained their nonimmigrant status and have not violated the terms or conditions of the nonimmigrant status;
- Asylees, refugees, and parolees;
- Temporary Protected Status (i.e. TPS) holders; and
- Beneficiaries of deferred action including DACA or Deferred Enforced Departure.
A supporter can also be an entity such as a non-governmental organization or not-for-profit. Each supporter will be required to undergo a vetting process that includes background and security checks.
The supporter must demonstrate sufficient financial resources to receive, maintain, and support the individuals whom they commit to support for the duration of their stay in the United States. To do so, the sponsor must file Form I-134, Affidavit of Support and submit bank statements, letters from employers, and tax returns that establish the individual/entity has the means to financially support the Ukrainian refugee.
- Who is eligible under Uniting for Ukraine?
To be eligible for parole under Uniting for Ukraine, an individual must:
- Have been resident in Ukraine as of February 11, 2022;
- Be a Ukrainian citizen or an immediate family member of a Ukrainian citizen who is a beneficiary of Uniting for Ukraine;
- Have a financial supporter in the U.S.;
- Complete vaccinations and other public health requirements; and
- Pass biometric and biographic security checks.
Children under the age of 18 must travel to the United States in the care and custody of their parent or legal guardian. A child who arrives at a U.S. port of entry without his/her parent or legal guardian may be placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as required by law under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA). Ukrainian children who are not traveling with a parent or legal guardian, but are coming to the U.S. to meet a parent or legal guardian, may instead seek parole through the standard Form I-131 parole process.
- Who is not eligible for parole pursuant to Uniting for Ukraine?
Ukrainian citizens who are present in the U.S. will not be considered for parole under Uniting for Ukraine. However, Ukrainian citizens present in the U.S. may be eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
Ukrainian nationals who present themselves at the U.S. Southwest border land ports of entry without a valid visa or without pre-authorization to travel through Uniting for Ukraine may be denied entry and referred to apply through this process.
- What are the benefits of humanitarian parole Uniting for Ukraine?
Humanitarian parole allows an individual who may be inadmissible or otherwise ineligible for admission to be in the United States for a temporary period for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.
Individuals who are granted parole under this process will generally be paroled for a period of two years.
Individuals paroled into the U.S. pursuant to Uniting for Ukraine may request authorization to work in the U.S. by filing a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
- What is the process for applying for parole under Uniting for Ukraine?
Financial supporters can begin the process by filing Form I-134, Declaration of Financial Support with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. If approved, Ukrainian beneficiaries will receive an email from USCIS with instructions on how to set up an account with myUSCIS and other next steps.
Meanwhile, individuals in Ukraine must submit biographic and biometric information to the U.S. government for the purposes of security vetting. This information will be checked against security databases. They will also need to confirm prior vaccination against measles, polio, and COVID-19, or will need to receive a first dose of required vaccines prior to obtaining authorization to travel to the U.S. In addition, they will need to complete a medical screening for tuberculosis within two weeks of arrival to the U.S.
Once an individual is granted authorization to travel to the U.S. to seek parole, they will be responsible to arrange and fund their own travel. Authorization will only be valid for 90 days.
Do you still have questions about the Uniting for Ukraine program? Our team of experienced attorneys is happy to answer your questions.