On April 21, 2022, President Biden announced new measures for Ukrainians, including “Uniting for Ukraine,” which includes “a new streamlined process to provide Ukrainian citizens…opportunities to come to the United States.” In addition, the Department of State announced increased refugee resettlement processing and “broadened access” to visa processing at consular posts overseas. President Biden has committed to admit “up to 100,000 Ukrainians and others” fleeing Russia’s war against Ukraine. An estimated 5 million people have left Ukraine so far following the Russian invasion. Below are highlights of the new measures:
- Uniting for Ukraine allows Ukrainians displaced by the war to apply for humanitarian parole in the United States. 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 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 up to two years. Once paroled through this process, Ukrainians will be eligible for work authorization.
- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said Ukrainians should not travel to Mexico to pursue entry into the United States. Following the launch of Uniting for Ukraine, Ukrainians who present at land U.S. ports of entry without a valid visa or without pre-authorization to travel to the United States through Uniting for Ukraine “will be denied entry and referred to apply through this program.”
- Beginning on April 25, 2022, U.S.-based individuals and entities can apply to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to sponsor displaced Ukrainian citizens 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 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), can sponsor Ukrainian applicants. Individuals and organizations seeking to sponsor Ukrainian citizens in the United States must declare their financial support and pass security background checks. Eligibility requirements include required vaccinations and other public health requirements, as well as biographic and biometric screening, vetting, and security checks.
- The Department of State will expand U.S. resettlement operations in Europe to provide more resources to process Ukrainian citizens for refugee resettlement under the Lautenberg program, and will expand referral mechanisms for Ukrainian citizens and others fleeing the war to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). To do so, the United States is working with European partners, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and NGOs to identify particularly vulnerable Ukrainian citizens and others fleeing the conflict who may warrant permanent resettlement through USRAP.
- DHS said that European embassies and consulates are also increasing, to the extent possible, the number of nonimmigrant visa appointments and ensuring there is an expedited visa appointment program for individuals with humanitarian, medical, or other extraordinary circumstances.