Q: I am a Ukrainian National in the United States without legal status. What are my options to remain in the United States?
For Ukrainian nationals currently in the United States who do not have an immigration status allowing them to remain in the United States, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new 18-month designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukraine on March 3, 2022. Individuals who are beneficiaries of TPS can apply for employment authorization, and are not removable from the United States for the duration of the TPS designation.
The Federal Register notice was published on April 19, 2022, opening the application period for TPS and providing instructions for applying and obtaining an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Individuals eligible for TPS under this designation must have continuously resided in the United States since April 11, 2022. Individuals who attempt to travel to the United States after that date will not be eligible for TPS. The designation of TPS for Ukraine lasts for 18 months until October 19, 2023.
TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or give any other immigration status. However, registration for TPS does not prevent you from:
- Applying for nonimmigrant status
- Filing for adjustment of status based on an immigrant petition
- Applying for any other immigration benefit or protection for which you may be eligible
If you require other legal needs, please contact an immigration attorney. USCRI offers legal services that can be contacted here.
Q: What should I tell my family members who have applied to come to the United States through the Lautenberg program?
If you or your family member has an existing refugee case through the Lautenberg Program in Ukraine and has left the country, write to Resettlement Support Center (RSC) Eurasia at email@example.com and inform the RSC of your/their new location and contact details. If the cases are Ready for Departure and in a location where the International Organization for Migration (IOM) can organize their departure at the time, they will be informed by the RSC of the next steps. USRAP refugee applicants cannot self-arrange their travel. Pre-Embarkation Check (PEC) and departure have to be arranged by IOM.
Q: What should I tell my family members who have not yet applied for refugee status or asylum but want to come to the United States?
If you are a refugee or an asylee in the United States and want your family abroad to join you, there are various avenues to take. Please refer to USCIS guidance here and contact an immigration attorney. USCRI offers legal services that can be contacted here.
The U.S. government has posted updated guidelines on filing for I-130 petitions filed by U.S. citizens on behalf of Afghan, Ethiopian or Ukrainian immediate relatives fleeing conflict. Please refer to State Department guidance here.
- If you are a U.S. citizen who is physically present overseas with your Afghan, Ethiopian, or Ukrainian immediate family members and have not yet filed an immigrant visa petition with USCIS, you may request to locally file a Form I-130 petition at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate that processes immigrant visas. This applies only to U.S. citizens affected by the large-scale disruptive events in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and Ukraine. Such citizens must be physically present in the country where they wish to file petitions. They can request to locally file on behalf of their spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents who fled Afghanistan after August 2, 2021; Ethiopia after November 1, 2020; or Ukraine after February 1, 2022.
- Please email your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate’s Immigrant Visa Unit if you believe you may qualify to locally file a Form I-130 petition. You can find those email addresses at each individual embassy or consulate website. A list of U.S. embassies and consulates is available at https://www.usembassy.gov
The U.S. government announced it would admit 100,000 Ukrainians, likely between FY22 and FY23. The Biden administration launched “Uniting for Ukraine” on April 25, 2022 as part of their effort to admit 100,000 Ukrainians. The program allows U.S.-based individuals and organizations to sponsor a Ukrainian individual or family in the United States. For more information and to apply to sponsor a Ukrainian, please see the USCIS site: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/uniting-for-ukraine. Once approved, Ukrainians through the program will receive humanitarian parole for two years and will be eligible for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs). Note that Ukrainian parolees are not currently eligible for ORR services.
Q: If I am a Ukrainian or non-Ukrainian fleeing into a nearby country, who can I call for information?
The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) has established two hotlines (527 toll-free from mobiles and 0-800-505-501 from landlines) to provide updates to people leaving Ukraine, including information on border crossings, required documentation and other entry requirements, as well as available assistance services in neighboring countries. The hotlines operate from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 pm daily. IOM hotline numbers and support contacts can be found here:
- Ukraine: 527 toll-free from mobiles and 0-800-505-501 from landlines
- Poland: +48 22 490 20 44
- Romania: the online support platform dopomoha.ro (developed by Code4Romania with support from IOM Romania) is now live: https://romania.iom.int/news/online-platform-dopomoharo-developed-code4romania-support-iom-romania-now-live
- Lithuania: +370 525 14352 is run by IOM’s Migration Information Centre, also available through live chat on this website https://www.renkuosilietuva.lt/ru/
- Slovakia: from abroad 00421 5263 0023, locally 0850 211 478, Telegram/Signal: 00421 908 767 853 (voice only), https://www.mic.iom.sk/en/
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has established an emergency hotline for foreign students wishing to leave Ukraine because of the Russian invasion. Those who require assistance can call Viber or Telegram at the following number: +380 93418 56 84. The questionnaire has also been created for collecting basic information about students and their whereabouts in order to advise them on the means available for their departure: https://cutt.ly/qAi9vBJ.
For Ukrainian Jews, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has launched a centralized Hesed hotline in Israel, serving people in Ukraine and relatives in other countries. It is staffed by Russian, Hebrew, and English speakers: Ukraine phone number +380-947-111-104.
Q: If I am a Ukrainian fleeing Ukraine into a nearby country, who should I be in touch with when I arrive?
For Ukrainians traveling to or present in other countries, please see below from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)’s Ukraine page for information about asylum procedures and where to go for help.
- In the Czech Republic: Please see the UNHCR HELP page: https://help.unhcr.org/czech/ and the government webpage page : https://www.mvcr.cz/clanek/informace-pro-obcany-ukrajiny.aspx (hotline number +420 974 801 802).
- In Hungary: Please see the UNHCR HELP page for Hungary: https://help.unhcr.org/hungary/ and the page of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee: https://helsinki.hu/Ukraine_Guide_2022_02_25_EN.pdf.
- In Moldova: Please see the page of the asylum authorities: http://bma.gov.md/ro/content/%D0%B2%D0%B0%D0%B6%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%B2%D0%BE and this partner page for available services: https://dopomoga.life/. You can contact UNHCR at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- In Poland: Please see the UNHCR HELP page for Poland: https://help.unhcr.org/poland/ and the Polish government website for Ukrainians: https://www.gov.pl/web/udsc/ukraina-en (scroll down for additional languages and note their hotline at: +48477217575).
- In Romania: Please see the UNHCR HELP page for Romania: https://help.unhcr.org/romania/ and the website of our partner, the National Council for Refugees: https://www.cnrr.ro/index.php/ro/
- In Slovakia: Please see the UNHCR HELP page for Slovakia here: https://help.unhcr.org/slovakia/ and the Slovak government website for Ukrainians at: https://ua.gov.sk/en.html.
- In all other countries: Please see the UNHCR HELP page https://help.unhcr.org/ and select the relevant country.
On March 4, 2022, the European Union adopted the Temporary Protection Directive (TPD). TPD is an exceptional measure to provide immediate and temporary protection to displaced persons from non-EU countries and those unable to return to their country of origin. TPD allows eligible individuals a residence permit for the entire duration of the protection (which can last from one year to three years), appropriate information on temporary protection, access to employment, access to accommodation or housing, access to social welfare or means of subsistence, access to medical treatment, access to education for minors, opportunities for families to reunite in certain circumstances, and guarantees for access to the normal asylum procedure.
Community-led Google doc (updated daily) – the document has information on the following topics: (1) contacts to communities and embassies in neighboring countries; (2) asylum and legal advice in Germany; (3) hosts in Germany; (4) transport/supplies; (5) ways to support; (6) psychological support.
Documentation and Benefit Eligibility for Ukrainians
Ukrainians who were paroled into the country between February 24, 2022, and September 30, 2023, will generally be eligible for benefits to the same extent as refugees. Congressional authorization created eligibility for resettlement benefits provided by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), entitlement programs, and other public benefits. See the following memos explaining authorization of benefits:
- ORR Policy Letter on Public Benefits for Ukrainian Parolees
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – Ukrainian Parolees
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) – Ukrainian Parolees
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Fact Sheet: Health Coverage Options for Certain Ukrainian Nationals