April 21, 2022 – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today a new streamlined process – “Uniting for Ukraine” – that will provide opportunities for Ukrainian citizens who have fled the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis to apply for humanitarian parole in the United States.
In its release, DHS outlined:
“To be eligible, Ukrainians must have been residents in Ukraine as of February 11, 2022, have a sponsor in the United States, complete vaccinations and other public health requirements, and pass rigorous biometric and biographic screening and vetting security checks. Ukrainians approved via this process will be authorized to travel to the United States and be considered for parole, on a case-by-case basis, for a period of up to two years. Once paroled through this process, Ukrainians will be eligible for work authorization.
Beginning on April 25, 2022, U.S.-based individuals and entities can apply to DHS to sponsor Ukrainian citizens who have been displaced by Russia’s aggression through the Uniting for Ukraine process, which will go live that day on the DHS website. Any U.S. citizen or individual, including representatives of non-government organizations, can sponsor Ukrainian applicants. Individuals and organizations seeking to sponsor Ukrainian citizens in the United States will be required to declare their financial support and pass security background checks to protect against exploitation and abuse. The Department of Homeland Security will administer the program. Eligibility requirements will include required vaccinations and other public health requirements, as well as biographic and biometric screening, vetting, and security checks.”
DHS strongly encourages Ukrainians seeking refuge in the United States to seek entry from Europe and warns them not to travel to Mexico to enter the country. Following the launch of “Uniting for Ukraine,” Ukrainians who present at land U.S. ports of entry without a valid visa or authorization to enter the United States through the program will be denied entry.
The State Department also announced it will expand U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) operations in Europe to provide eligible Ukrainians with greater access to refugee resettlement processing under the Lautenberg program. Further, U.S. embassies claim to be increasing visa appointments and ensuring an expedited visa appointment program for individuals with humanitarian, medical, or other extraordinary circumstances to get priority access.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said in the statement, “The U.S. Department of State stands with the people of Ukraine. We will help deliver on the President’s commitment to welcome 100,000 Ukrainian citizens and others forced to flee their homes in Ukraine, and our partnership with the Department of Homeland Security will help us fulfill that commitment.”
Ulmer’s Immigration Law Group is closely monitoring these developments and is prepared to support you and your organization with your business needs. Please reach out to our immigration attorneys if you have any questions.
The information provided in this client alert speaks only to the information and guidance we have available as of the date of publication and is subject to change. We will continue to follow further issued guidance and regulations and endeavor to post those updates via our website. Please continue to follow these updates at ulmer.com. This legal update was created by Ulmer & Berne LLP, and is not intended as a substitute for professional legal advice. Receipt of this client alert, by itself, does not create an attorney client relationship. For any questions, or for further information, please contact David W. Leopold at firstname.lastname@example.org.