USCRI Statement on Launch of New Re-Parole Process for Ukrainians

By USCRI February 28, 2024

The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) commends the U.S. government for launching a re-parole application process for Ukrainian humanitarian parolees.

“We are relieved that the U.S. government has opened re-parole to Ukrainians,” USCRI President and CEO Eskinder Negash said. “Ukrainians displaced by this horrible war deserve continued protection.”

The new re-parole process will allow Ukrainian nationals to renew their parole periods for up to an additional two years by submitting a Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. Re-parole applications can be filed on paper or online and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Unlike a similar re-parole process for Afghans that was fee-exempt, Ukrainians will need to pay the Form I-131 filing fee or request a fee waiver. In another departure from the Afghan re-parole process, Ukrainian parolees can only request a new employment authorization document after they are approved for re-parole.

USCRI calls on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process and adjudicate Ukrainian requests for re-parole as efficiently as possible—with two-year parole periods issued in 2022 beginning to expire and with employment authorization requests depending on re-parole approvals.

With limited refugee processing in Europe and the speed and scale of crisis conditions after the full-scale Russian invasion began on February 24, 2022, parole has served as the main lifeline for Ukrainians to resettle in the United States.

Thousands of Ukrainians received parole in the days and weeks after the invasion began by traveling independently to U.S. ports of entry, primarily at the southern border with Mexico. In April 2022, the Biden administration launched the Uniting for Ukraine (U4U) program for Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members to travel to the United States and stay for a two-year period of parole.

By fall 2023, the United States had welcomed more than 188,000 Ukrainian parolees—primarily through the U4U program. Through the support of U.S.-based sponsors, thousands more arrive via U4U every month.

“While some Ukrainians have received other forms of relief like Temporary Protected Status since they arrived, re-parole will allow many Ukrainians to stay connected to services by maintaining the continuity of parole,” Negash said.

Under a law passed by Congress in May 2022, Ukrainian humanitarian parolees were authorized to receive resettlement assistance and other federal benefits as refugees, asylees, and other groups do. However, this authorization lapsed on September 30, 2023, meaning many Ukrainians arriving since September have been cut off from enrolling in services funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

USCRI calls on the U.S. House of Representatives to pass reauthorization language for newly arriving Ukrainian humanitarian parolees to be eligible for resettlement benefits and services. This language was approved by the U.S. Senate on February 13 as part of a national security-focused supplemental bill.

“This re-parole announcement underscores the urgency of ensuring continuous access to support for vulnerable populations,” Negash said.

The re-parole announcement follows the Biden administration’s August 2023 redesignation and extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukraine and its previously announced parole extension process for some Ukrainians who had only received a year of parole at U.S. ports of entry.

USCRI encourages federal agencies to take this same approach when it considers extensions to expiring protections for other populations, whether Burmese or Ethiopian nationals on TPS or parolees through the Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan, and Venezuelan (CHNV) process.

“From TPS decisions to new streamlined programs like U4U, Ukrainians have gotten robust support from the Biden administration since the onset of the Russian invasion,” Negash said. “This sort of welcoming suite of policies should be the standard—not the exception—when the U.S. government responds to displacement crises around the world.”

USCRI, founded in 1911, is a non-governmental, not-for-profit international organization committed to working on behalf of refugees and immigrants and their transition to a dignified life.

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