Uniting For Ukraine: how to apply for the program of Ukrainian refugees support in the US?
US President Joseph Biden has announced a new program, Uniting for Ukraine, to ensure the implementation of a proclaimed program to invite 100,000 Ukrainian citizens forced to flee the war due to Russia's full-scale aggression against Ukraine.
Uniting for Ukraine is a simplified program for citizens of Ukraine to obtain a humanitarian parole in the United States. To be eligible to stay in the United States under this program, Ukrainians had to stay in Ukraine as of February 11, 2022, have a sponsor in the United States, get vaccinated and meet other health care requirements, and undergo necessary biometric, biographical, and security checks. Under this program, Ukrainians will have the right to enter the United States for up to 2 years with the right to apply for employment in the United States.
Who can get a humanitarian parole under the Unite for Ukraine program?
• persons who lived in Ukraine immediately before the full-scale invasion of Russia (until February 11, 2022) and were displaced as a result of the invasion;
• are citizens of Ukraine and have a valid Ukrainian passport (or are a child registered in the parents' passport), or are the closest family member of a citizen of Ukraine;
• have a sponsor in the United States who will file a Declaration of Financial Support (Form I-134) for them, which will be reviewed and approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS);
• have completed vaccinations and other health requirements;
• passed biometric, biographical and security checks.
Starting from April 25, 2022, individuals and legal entities in the United States may apply to the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to sponsor Ukrainian citizens displaced by Russian aggression under the Uniting for Ukraine program. Ukrainians (referred to as beneficiaries) cannot apply directly to the program. The application is submitted by the sponsor on behalf of Ukrainian citizens. The sponsor must fill out special forms, including indicating the contacts of Ukrainians for whom the sponsor vouches. Any US citizen or individual legally residing in the United States, including non-governmental organizations, will be able to sponsor Ukrainians. Individuals and organizations wishing to sponsor Ukrainian citizens in the United States will be required to declare their financial support for the Ukrainian during his or her stay in the United States and undergo the necessary checks. If the sponsor's application is approved, the citizen of Ukraine will be sent an e-mail with information on how to proceed to obtain permission to enter the United States.
Note. To be eligible for this process, children under the age of 18 must travel to the United States under the care and custody of their parents or legal guardians.
What are the stages of submitting documents under the Uniting for Ukraine program?
STEP 1: Financial support
Individuals participating in the Unite for Ukraine program must have financial support in the United States. To initiate the process, the sponsor in the United States electronically submits a Declaration of Financial Support (Form I-134) to USCIS through the online portal "myUSCIS". The US federal government will then review the sponsor on the matter of protection against exploitation and abuse, and to ensure that financial support for the program beneficiary can be provided.
STEP 2. Providing biographical information through the online portal "myUSCIS"
After the sponsor demonstrates sufficient financial support and is approved by the US, the Ukrainian beneficiary will receive an email from USCIS on how to create a myUSCIS account and instructions on how to proceed. The Ukrainian beneficiary will have to confirm his / her biographical information in “myUSCIS” and fulfill all the requirements.
STEP 3: Comply with vaccination requirements
As part of the validation of qualification requirements in myUSCIS account, those wishing to travel to the United States through the Uniting for Ukraine process must confirm their previous measles, polio, and COVID-19 vaccinations. If they have not been vaccinated before, individuals will need to receive the first dose of the necessary vaccines before obtaining permission to travel to the United States.
All individuals over the age of two must undergo a medical examination for tuberculosis, including a gamma-interferon release test (IGRA), within two weeks of arriving in the United States.
STEP 4: Permission to travel to the United States
After fulfilling all the requirements, Ukrainians will receive a notification on their myUSCIS account confirming whether they have the right to enter the United States to obtain a humanitarian parole. If approved, this permit is valid for 90 days. At the same time, Ukrainians must personally settle the issue of air travel in the United States. Citizens of Ukraine will be required to meet other requirements of the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding travel, including testing for COVID-19 before departure.
STEP 5: Obtaining a humanitarian parole at the border crossing point
Upon arrival at the U.S. border crossing point, each person will be screened by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and will be reviewed for a humanitarian parole for up to two years.
Please note that starting from April 25, Ukrainian citizens who intend to cross the land border with the United States without a valid visa or without prior permission to enter the United States through the Uniting for Ukraine program will be denied entry and directed to apply through this program.
STEP 6: Approval of the humanitarian parole
If the humanitarian parole is approved under this program, Ukrainians will be allowed to enter the United States for up to two years and with the right to apply for employment in the United States. Individuals will be able to apply for employment by submitting an application for a work permit (Form I-765) to USCIS.
Other details about the program, requirements for sponsors are laid down on the portal of the US Department of Homeland Security
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