[UPDATED] President Biden Announces new Humanitarian Parole Program for Ukrainians

November 30, 2022 Amanda Bolhuis

 

NOTE: This article was updated on Nov. 28, 2022, and Aug. 16, 2022, to reflect new information regarding the Uniting for Ukraine program. The original story was published on April 28, 2022.

UPDATE (Nov. 28, 2022): Effective Nov. 21, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provided updates for its Uniting for Ukraine program. The changes apply to certain Ukrainian parolees and their qualifying family members who are eligible for employment authorization “incident to parole”. This means qualifying individuals do not need to wait for approval of Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, by USCIS before they are eligible to start working in the U.S. Rather, the individual can temporarily present a Form I-94 demonstrating valid admission and unexpired authorization to stay in the U.S. to an employer in connection with the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification process. 

Provided their parole has not been terminated, the following individuals are eligible for the new policy:  

  • Ukrainian parolees whose unexpired Form I-94 contains a class of admission of “UHP”  
  • 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 

Individuals may demonstrate work authorization eligibility to their employer by presenting an unexpired Form I-94 for the Form I-9 process. The Form I-94 satisfies the Form I-9 requirement for up to 90 days from the date the individual was hired or when their prior employment authorization expired. Parolees who received a Form I-94 upon entering the U.S. should visit U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Form I-94 page online to view and print a copy of their Form I-94. 

Although a valid and eligible Form I-94 is sufficient for the 90-day period, parolees must still apply for a Form I-765 to receive a physical Employment Authorization Documentation (EAD).  Once the 90-day period ends, individuals must present qualifying documents for the I-9 process.  Employers should soon be able to reference additional information from USCIS about completing Form I-9 in this scenario. 

Along with the update above, USCIS is exempting the filing fee for Form I-765 filed by mail for Ukrainian parolees through Sept. 30, 2023. The exemption applies to new and replacement forms. Fee exemptions will be processed starting on Dec. 5, 2022, for online filings.  

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UPDATE (Aug. 16, 2022): The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has updated its COVID-19 vaccination requirements for individuals who are granted parole into the United States in the Uniting for Ukraine program. Beneficiaries aged six months and above must provide an attestation proving that they received at least one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccination before traveling to the U.S. unless they are eligible for an exception. Previously, only beneficiaries aged five years and older were required to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination.  

Prior to traveling to the U.S., beneficiaries aged six months and older must attest that they received at least one COVID-19 vaccination approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use, unless they qualify for an exception. After they receive parole into the U.S., beneficiaries must attest that they have completed, or will complete, the rest of their COVID-19 vaccination series and be fully vaccinated within 90 days of arrival in the U.S. or within 90 days of reaching the eligible age for vaccination, unless they qualify for an exception. The attestation is a requirement for parole, and it must be completed in the beneficiary’s online USCIS account. Beneficiaries must arrange for their own vaccinations. 

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On April 25, 2022, President Biden launched a new humanitarian parole program for Ukrainians who are fleeing their country due to the ongoing crisis.  

Overview 

The humanitarian parole program, called Uniting for Ukraine, allows U.S. citizens and entities to sponsor Ukrainian citizens who have been displaced due to ongoing armed conflict in their country, provided they meet certain requirements. Ukrainian citizens must have been a resident of Ukraine on Feb. 11, 2022. They must have a sponsor based in the U.S. and meet all health requirements to enter the U.S., including full COVID-19 vaccinations. Ukrainians may also be subject to security checks and other forms of screening.  

Ukrainians will be considered on a case-by-case basis for parole. If they are granted parole, they will be allowed to remain in the U.S. for two years, and they may also be eligible for work authorization.  

Looking Ahead  

The Uniting for Ukraine program is designed to assist Ukrainians who are seeking refuge in the U.S. and who do not have, or are not eligible to obtain, a visa to enter the U.S. Additional information on the program is available through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.  

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Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Amanda Bolhuis and Louis Massard, who are Partners at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (www.giafirm.com), one of the two U.S. law firms Envoy exclusively works with on the Envoy Platform (the "U.S. Law Firms").   

Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. Envoy is not a law firm, and does not provide legal advice. If you would like guidance on how this information may impact your particular situation and you are a client of one of the U.S. Law Firms, consult your attorney. If you are not a client of a U.S. Law Firm working with Envoy, consult another qualified professional. This website does not create an attorney-client relationship with either U.S. Law Firm. 

About the Author

Amanda is a Partner at Global Immigration Associates. Her practice focuses on employment based nonimmigrant and immigrant visa petitions. She has extensive experience handling B, E, H, L, O and TN visa cases, employment-based green cards (EB-1 and PERM labor certification) and USCIS Requests for Evidence and appeals. She also has experience advising companies on corporate restructuring, mergers and acquisitions and I-9 compliance issues. Amanda works with clients in several industries, including automotive, insurance and technology.

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