April 28, 2022

Immigration Update: April 2022 — Uniting for Ukraine

Since our previous article on March 28, 2022, approximately 5.1 million Ukrainians have left the country and another 6.5 million have been displaced from their homes, but are still in Ukraine. The United States has taken some additional steps to assist in this crisis including the following:

Implementation of TPS for Ukrainians

In March, the U.S. government designated Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).  A country may be designated for TPS when conditions in the country fall into one or more of the three statutory bases for designation: ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or extraordinary and temporary conditions. The designation for Ukraine is based on both ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in Ukraine that prevent Ukrainian nationals, and those of no nationality who last habitually resided in Ukraine, from returning to Ukraine safely. Since our previous posting on March 28, 2022, the U.S. has updated and finalized the TPS process for Ukrainians already in the U.S. In addition to other eligibility requirements, Ukrainians applying for TPS must demonstrate their continuous residence in the U.S. since April 11, 2022 and continuous physical presence in the U.S. since April 19, 2022 — the date of the federal register notice. Ukrainians applying for TPS can also apply for work authorization. The registration period for eligible individuals to submit TPS applications began on April 19, 2022 and will remain in effect through October 19, 2023. The U.S. may decide to extend TPS for Ukrainians after October 19, 2023, but such a decision will depend on conditions in Ukraine at that time. 

Uniting for Ukraine

On April 21, 2022, the U.S. government announced its Uniting for Ukraine program, which seeks to streamline some of the normal U.S. visa and refugee admissions processes, expand consular operations and U.S. Refugee Admissions Program operations in Europe, and expand U.S. resettlement operations in Europe. The U.S. government is urging Ukrainian applicants who are not otherwise eligible for a visa to apply for and seek entry through the Uniting for Ukraine program from Europe.

Eligibility

Through the Uniting for Ukraine program, Ukrainians who have been displaced by the war can apply for humanitarian parole. U.S. beneficiaries are eligible for this process if they:

  • Resided in Ukraine immediately prior to the Russian invasion (until February 11, 2022) and were displaced as a result of the invasion.
  • Are a Ukrainian citizen and possess a valid Ukrainian passport (or are a child included on a parent’s passport) or are a non-Ukrainian immediate family member of a Ukrainian citizen who is applying through Uniting for Ukraine.
  • Have a supporter who filed a Form I-134, Declaration of Financial Support, on their behalf that has been confirmed as sufficient by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • Complete vaccinations and other public health requirements.
  • Clear biometric and biographic screening and vetting security checks.

Procedure

Individuals participating in Uniting for Ukraine must have financial support in the United States. A U.S.-based supporter will file a Form I-134, Declaration of Financial Support, with USCIS through the online myUSCIS web portal to initiate the Uniting for Ukraine process. If vetted and approved, the Ukrainian beneficiary can create an account on myUSCIS to confirm all biographic information, attest to meeting other eligibility requirements, and confirm prior vaccinations. The process involves background, security, and medical screenings. If approved, the Ukrainian national receives notice confirming they can travel to the U.S. to seek parole. If admitted to the U.S., the Ukrainian beneficiary may be paroled into the U.S. for up to two years. They may also apply for work authorization once inside the U.S. 

In addition to the parole process for those with sponsors, the U.S. announced that it was expanding its resettlement operations in Europe to provide more resources to process Ukrainians for refugee resettlement. Where possible, U.S. consulates are also increasing the number of visa appointments to ensure there are expedited processes for people with humanitarian, medical, or other extraordinary circumstances to get priority access. 

Faegre Drinker’s immigration and global mobility team is continuing to monitor these developments and will provide updates as they become available. 

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