This article lists some information on visa options and alternatives for Ukraine nationals following the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) affords temporary lawful presence to eligible individuals already present in the U.S. whose countries have been impacted by natural or man-made disasters. On March 3, the DOS announced the designation of Ukraine for TPS for 18 months.
To qualify, Ukrainian nationals must have continuously resided in the U.S. as of March 1, 2022 and must apply before August 28, 2022. TPS applicants may apply for EAD to work lawfully in the U.S.
TPS designation for Ukraine will remain in effect through September 1, 2023, at which time DHS will determine whether to re-designate or extend the current designation.
Humanitarian Parole is a form of parole and is usually sought when an individual is in another country and needs to enter the U.S. for a medical reason, some other emergency or compelling situation. It is possible to ask for re-parole prior to the expiration date of the parole. It is granted sparingly and is not used to circumvent the standard immigration procedures.
Parole is temporary and it is not meant to bypass or replace a visa process. There is no cap limit, and anyone can apply. But it does not confer permanent status (such as lawful permanent residency) and does not confer a pathway to citizenship. There are no derivative family benefits allowed under parole, meaning a parolee cannot apply for their immediate family members such as a spouse or child to come into the U.S. Although parole is generally used in emergency contexts, requiring expeditious adjudications, all parolees undergo various vetting and background check requirements.
You cannot use parole to avoid normal visa-issuing procedures or to bypass immigration procedures. An admitted refugee can apply for certain family members through a Refugee Relative Petition. Yet, unlike other forms of immigration relief, humanitarian parole does not confer any family or derivative benefits.
Ukrainians who wish to travel to the U.S. as refugees, should not attempt to apply for visas. Instead, they should contact local authorities of UNHCR for refugee processing. USCIS currently will accept up to 100,000 refugees from Ukraine.
Additional information is available from UNHCR : https://help.unhcr.org, including information about non-governmental organizations that may be able to provide additional assistance. Additionally, USAID’s website has information for Ukrainian refugees: https://www.usaid.gov/usaid-response-ukraine/resources-refugees-asylum-seekers.
Asylum and related relief are available to those fleeing persecution by the government of their home country or a group that their home government cannot control. The persecution must be because of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. With limited exceptions, individuals must apply for asylum within one year of their arrival to the United States. Once granted asylum, asylees may petition for spouses and children to join them in the U.S. and can apply for permanent residence status after one year.
Title 42 would no longer be applied to unaccompanied migrant youth of Ukraine who cross the border.
Immigrant Visa Applications
- The U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt is designated to process all Ukrainian immigrant visa applications except adoption cases. Adoption cases are being handled at the U.S. Embassy Warsaw. Immigrant visa cases pending with the U.S. Embassy Kyiv have been transferred to Frankfurt, except that adoption cases have been transferred to Warsaw. Applicants shall contact the receiving consulate for case inquiries.
- If you have filed an I-130 petition with USCIS, it is recommended that you request an expedite processing of your I-130 petition.
- If you have an approved I-130 petition and have not yet been scheduled for an appointment, it is recommended that you contact NVC to request for an expedite processing.
- If you have an immigrant visa case that has already been transferred from NVC to Kyiv for the appointment and processing and you would like it to be processed in Frankfurt, Please email [email protected] using the following subject line: C22 – UKRAINE – FULL NAME. Please provide your full name, date and place of birth as it appears on your passport or other travel document, along with the details of your situation, including whether you are the spouse, child, son, daughter, or parent of a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (“green card” holder). US. Consulate Frankfurt will respond to you as soon as practicable with any guidance it can provide you.
- If you are already in Poland, cannot travel to Frankfurt, and have an I-130 petition approved by USCIS pending processing at the National Visa Center and want to transfer it to U.S. Embassy Warsaw, you may request expedition and transfer from the National Visa Center: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/national-visa-center/nvc-contact-information.html. However, please be aware that due to extraordinarily high demand and limited availability in Warsaw, wait times may be very lengthy.
- If you are a U.S. citizen who is physically present overseas with your immediate family members who have not yet filed an immigrant visa petition with USCIS, you may file I-130 petition locally at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate that processes immigrant visas. This applies only to U.S. citizens physically present in that consular district filing petitions for their spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents who have fled Ukraine.
- If you have a pending K-1 fiancée visa petition at USCIS, you may request an expedite for USCIS processing.
- There is also a help line if you are active military: https://www.uscis.gov/military/military-help-line.