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DHS Announces How to Apply for the “Uniting for Ukraine” Program

After announcing the Uniting for Ukraine program last week, a more detailed memo from the Department of Homeland Security was released late Monday. The Uniting for Ukraine program will allow Ukrainian citizens who were residing in Ukraine prior to February 11th, 2022, to apply for humanitarian parole in the U.S. Should the applicant meet the biographic requirements, pass a background check, and have a sponsor that will petition them to stay in the U.S., they will be allowed to travel to the U.S. for the purpose of seeking a grant of parole. If authorization is permitted, the Ukrainian applicant will be permitted to board a plane to the U.S. to request parole. Should parole be granted, it will usually be a two-year term. 

The notice that DHS released on Monday details how a U.S.-based sponsor can apply to financially support Ukrainian citizens and begin the process. First, a sponsor in the U.S. must file a Form I-134, Declaration of Financial Support, to begin the process and prove that they can financially support the Ukrainian beneficiary. Once the financial support requirement has been proven, the Ukrainian beneficiary will be notified and will have to provide any additional information DHS and USCIS require. To be considered an eligible beneficiary, the Ukrainian must have a valid Ukrainian passport (if they are a child without a passport, they must be included on their parent’s passport). The Ukrainian beneficiary must also have clear and clean biographic and biometric background checks. These include having required vaccines such as the measles, polio, and COVID-19 vaccines.

The processing of the program will follow as described by DHS. After the Form I-134 is filed, financial support is proven, and eligibility is verified, then USCIS will require both the Ukrainian beneficiary and the U.S. petitioner to create myUSCIS accounts to monitor their progress. Applicant’s data will be vetted through their myUSCIS accounts and be cross-checked with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol’s (CBP’s) databases. Once vetting is complete and travel is authorized, these Ukrainian individuals will be allowed to travel to the U.S. for a period of 90 days. Upon arriving at a U.S. port of entry (POE), Ukrainian beneficiaries will be inspected by CBP officers who will make case-by-case decisions on whether to approve their application. If parole is granted, it will most likely be for a two-year period. Individuals granted parole will also be allowed to apply for employment authorization with USCIS. 

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