[UPDATED] State Department Issues Guidance for Ukrainian Applicants

March 22, 2022 Louis Massard

March 18, 2022 Update: This announcement is an update to the original article published on March 15, 2022.  

The U.S. State Department has provided more immigrant visa information for U.S. citizens physically present overseas who are filing Form I-130 petitions on behalf of certain immediate relatives fleeing conflict. The guidance applies to U.S. citizens with certain Afghan, Ethiopian and Ukrainian immediate family members who are impacted by large-scale disruptive events in Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Ukraine. Those citizens may request to file a Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative locally at the closest U.S. Consulate or Embassy that processes immigrant visas. Applicants must be physically present in the country where they wish to file a petition. Petitions may be filed locally on behalf of a spouse, unmarried children under age 21 and parents. Individuals must have fled Afghanistan after Aug. 2, 2021; Ethiopia after Nov. 1, 2020; or Ukraine after Feb. 1, 2022. U.S. citizens who believe they are qualified to file a Form I-130 petition locally can email the Immigrant Visa Unit at the closest U.S. Consulate or Embassy.  The temporary authorization for filing a Form I-130 expires on Sept. 30, 2022. After that date, consular officers may still opt to accept and adjudicate approvable Form I-130 petitions if the petitioner has demonstrated exceptional circumstances

This update follows the original story published below.  

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The U.S. State Department provided more details on immigrant and nonimmigrant visas processes available for Ukrainian nationals who are impacted by the crisis in Ukraine. This new guidance is specific to applicants who are outside of the U.S. Information on Temporary Protected Status, which may be granted for Ukrainian nationals who have been present in the U.S. since March 1, 2022, is found here

Nonimmigrant Visas  

To apply for a temporary, nonimmigrant visa (NIV), the applicant must be eligible for the visa category in question. NIV applications can be processed and appointments can be made where the Ukrainian national is currently located, assuming the existence of an operating State Department consular post in the country. The State Department adds that NIV status is not intended to be used for starting a refugee, immigrant or resettlement process.  

Immigrant Visas  

The State Department also provided guidance for long-term, immigrant visa applicants. With the exception of adoption cases, which will be processed at the US Consulate in Warsaw, all newly scheduled immigrant visa applications and appointments will be processed at the US Consulate in Frankfurt. Individuals who have a pending Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can contact USCIS to request expedited adjudication for their petition. USCIS will consider all requests for expedited review on an individual basis.  

COVID-19 Considerations  

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are exempting certain travelers from Ukraine from the standard COVID-19 testing and vaccination requirements that normally apply to travelers arriving in the U.S.  

Looking Ahead  

Individuals can find full guidance and additional information on scheduling appointments, requesting expedited processing and filing on the State Department’s website.  

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Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Louis Massard and Amanda Bolhuis, who are Partners at Global Immigration Associates (GIA), one of the two independent 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. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an attorney at one of the two U.S. Law Firms working with the Envoy Platform or another qualified professional. On non-U.S. immigration issues, consult an Envoy global immigration service provider or another qualified representative. 

About the Author

Louis is a Partner at Global Immigration Associates where he provides counsel to employers of all sizes across a wide range of industries in obtaining nonimmigrant and immigrant benefits for foreign national personnel.

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