IMPORTANT UPDATE RE: ELIGIBILITY FOR BENEFITS
As of May 21st 2022 any Ukrainian national granted parole between February 24th 2022 and September 30th 2023 will be considered eligible for benefits and services funded through the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). This includes Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF – called MFIP in Minnesota), Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Ukrainian nationals granted parole may also qualify for resettlement assistance and other benefits available to refugees with the exception of initial resettlement case management. This does not mean that Ukrainian parolees have refugee status. Make sure to be honest about your immigration status when filing for any of the above benefits.
I am a Ukrainian national seeking entry to the U.S. What are my options?
Humanitarian Parole under the Uniting for Ukraine program
On March 24th 2022 the Biden Administration announced the Uniting for Ukraine program. Through this program the U.S. Department of Homeland Security may grant humanitarian parole to eligible Ukrainian nationals who have a U.S. sponsor. If you approach the U.S. border without a valid visa or authorization you will not be granted parole at the border. You will be denied entry to the U.S. and will be referred to apply through the Uniting for Ukraine program instead.
To begin applying under the Uniting for Ukraine program you must have a financial sponsor in the U.S. who will agree to provide financial support for the parole period. This sponsor must have a lawful U.S. immigration status and must be willing to provide the following support:
- Receiving the Ukrainian national at the airport upon their arrival and providing transportation to initial housing;
- Ensuring that the Ukrainian national has safe and appropriate housing and the basic necessities for daily living;
- Ensuring that the Ukrainian national’s health care and medical needs are met;
- Helping the Ukrainian national to complete necessary paperwork such as the application for work authorization, for Social Security card, and for other services that they may qualify for; and
- As appropriate, helping the Ukrainian national with accessing education, English language learning, and employment.
This financial sponsor starts the application process by filing Form I-134 online with USCIS. The sponsor must indicate by name the Ukrainian national that they intend to sponsor. One I-134 must be filed for each Ukrainian national that wants to be considered for parole through this program. This means that for a family of four people there must be four separate I-134 forms filed. The sponsor and the Ukrainian national must pass certain security and background checks to be considered for this program. Please visit the USCIS webpage for more information.
Please remember that parole is a temporary immigration status. There are many different special parole programs each with different requirements and benefits. Just because one program can lead to permanent residency does not mean that this is an option for all people granted parole.
Individuals or families fleeing Ukraine can contact UNHCR to register as refugees. If you enter the U.S. with humanitarian parole you will be disqualified from refugee status in the future and will need to pursue other legal immigration options.
I am a Ukrainian national currently in the U.S. What are my options?
Temporary Protected Status
TPS is a special immigration status granted to eligible nationals of a designated country. On March 3rd, 2022 Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas designated Ukraine for TPS for 18 months.
You may qualify for Ukrainian TPS status if…
- You are a national of Ukraine; and
- You have been continuously present in the U.S. since April 19th, 2022.*
*The initial TPS designation by Secretary Mayorkas stated that applicants had to be continuously present in the U.S. since March 1st, 2022. The Department of Homeland Security has updated this requirement in order to extend TPS to a greater number of eligible applicants. Please review the USCIS webpage for Ukrainian TPS for more information.
You may be interested in filing for TPS even if you already have a different application or petition pending such as asylum or a family-based visa petition. You can have TPS while also holding another status such as humanitarian parole.
Asylum is a form of humanitarian protection that you can apply for only from within the U.S. Asylum is not approved based on nationality alone. You have to demonstrate your own personal story of persecution or danger.
If you apply for asylum, you can apply for a work permit while your application is pending. If your asylum is granted you can apply for permanent residency (green card) after 1 year and may petition for certain family members to join you in the U.S.
I want to help a Ukrainian national come to the U.S. What are my options?
If you are a green card holder you may file a family visa petition for your spouse or unmarried children. If you are a U.S. citizen you may file a family visa petition for your spouse, married or unmarried children, parents, or siblings. If the petition is approved, your family member will be granted permanent residency. If you think that you may qualify to file a family visa petition please contact Arrive Ministries to schedule a consult appointment.
You may file a special form called the Lautenberg “Former Soviet Union” Affidavit of Relationship if:
(1) You have a lawful immigration status (refugee, asylee, permanent residency, or U.S. citizenship);
(2) you want to file for a parent, grandparent, child, spouse, or sibling; and
(3) your relative belongs to a particular religious group (Judaism, Evangelical Christianity, Ukrainian Catholicism, and members of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, for example).
If you think that you might qualify for this program, please contact Arrive Ministries to complete a phone intake. This affidavit must be submitted by a Resettlement Agency. You cannot file this affidavit on your own.
You may also qualify as a financial sponsor for a Ukrainian individual through the Uniting for Ukraine program. There are no constraints on relationships for this program. If the Ukrainian individual is approved under this program, they may enter the U.S. with humanitarian parole for a period of up to 2 years. Please review the information below and visit Uniting for Ukraine for more information. Arrive Ministries is not currently assisting sponsors in filing through this program.