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USCIS Grants Employment Authorization to Ukrainian and Afghan Parolees

On November 21, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) updated their policy regarding Ukrainian and Afghan parolees and their employment authorization status in the U.S. Now, Ukrainian and Afghan parolees, and their qualifying family members, with certain classes of admission are considered employment authorized incident to parole, which means that they do not need to wait for USCIS to approve their Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, before they can work in the U.S. 

This updated policy guidance applies to the following individuals, if their parole has not been terminated:

  • Afghan parolees whose unexpired Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, contains a class of admission of “OAR.” If you are an Afghan parolee covered under section 2502(b), P.L. No. 117-43 who did not receive an “OAR” class of admission on your Form I-94, you can email U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) at [email protected] to update your class of admission, if appropriate;
  • Ukrainian parolees whose unexpired Form I-94 contains a class of admission of “UHP”; and
  • Ukrainian parolees whose unexpired Form I-94 contains a class of admission of “DT” issued between Feb. 24, 2022, and Sept. 30, 2023, and indicates Ukraine as the country of citizenship on the document.

For these parolees, their unexpired Form I-94 is an acceptable receipt they may present to their employer to show their identity and employment authorization for the purposes of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The receipt satisfies the Form I-9 requirement for 90 days from the date of hire (or in the case of reverification, the date employment authorization expires). 

  • Individuals who received a Form I-94 when they entered the U.S. should visit CBP’s Form I-94 page to view and print a copy of their Form I-94. 
  • If the individual does not have a passport, they can use their A-Number to retrieve their Form I-94 online by choosing “Get Most Recent I-94.” They should enter their A-Number in the Document Number field and their country of citizenship or “USA” in the Country of Citizenship field.

After the 90-day period, parolees must present an EAD or unrestricted Social Security card and acceptable List B identity document from the Form I-9 Lists of Acceptable Documents (such as a state-issued driver’s license or identification card). Ukrainian and Afghan parolees must still file a Form I-765 to receive a physical EAD. USCIS will provide additional guidance for employers about completion of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

As of November 21, 2022, USCIS has also exempted the fee to file Form I-765 for Ukrainian parolees filing for an EAD by mail. Afghan parolees under OAW are already exempt from the fee for an initial paper-filed Form I-765 (and a replacement EAD) through Sept. 30, 2023.

Effective Dec. 5, 2022, USCIS will be able to process fee exemptions for online filings of Form I-765 for eligible Ukrainian and Afghan parolees. USCIS encourages the use of online filing for more efficient processing.