Uniting for Ukraine:
What You Need to Know

The U.S. government has now announced Uniting for Ukraine, an entry program for people fleeing Ukraine who are seeking refuge in the United States. Read below to learn more, and make sure to sign up to be notified as this information is updated.

Sponsorship FAQs

How Uniting for Ukraine Works

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What is Uniting for Ukraine?

Uniting for Ukraine is a streamlined process that allows for Ukrainian citizens who have been displaced by Russia’s aggression to apply for humanitarian parole in the United States.

Under Uniting for Ukraine, the U.S. government allows people fleeing the war in Ukraine to seek refuge in the United States on a temporary basis known as humanitarian parole, with the support of a sponsor in the United States. The sponsor will provide financial support to meet the basic needs of someone fleeing Ukraine. They may also provide additional support, such as assistance enrolling in educational or training programs or securing employment.

Sponsors can be U.S. citizens, permanent residents or other lawfully present individuals. This includes individuals on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and refugees. Groups of sponsors, nonprofits, educational institutions, and employers can also help sponsor people fleeing Ukraine.

Beneficiaries under Uniting for Ukraine include individuals and their immediate family members who were residents of Ukraine on February 11, 2022, and fled Ukraine as a result of the war. Adult beneficiaries will be able to apply for work authorization in the United States as well as for other important documents, such as a Social Security number and state ID. Legislation signed by President Biden on May 21, 2022, also expands eligibility for beneficiaries to apply for federal public benefits, such as Medicaid, and for programs and services funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Learn more about those programs [here]https://www.acf.hhs.gov/orr/ukrainian-assistance-resources).

It is important to recognize that work authorization is not granted automatically as part of Uniting for Ukraine, and it can take a few weeks or months before it is approved. The timeline for application for public benefits is much faster, and there are many things a beneficiary can do before their work authorization is granted, including enrolling in English classes!

For more information about Uniting for Ukraine, visit USCIS.gov and DHS.gov.

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How is Uniting for Ukraine different from refugee resettlement?

Refugee resettlement is a long, protracted, and complex process that can take years, even decades. There are over 24 million refugees in the world, only 1% of which will ever become eligible for resettlement.

The war in Ukraine sparked the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II, and there was urgency to respond quickly. Uniting for Ukraine allows a faster entry process into the United States, but it does not rely on national and local resettlement agencies as part of the admissions process. Instead it relies on sponsors like you! That’s why it’s so important for sponsors to participate in this space.

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I heard that 100,000 Ukrainians can arrive through U4U. Is that true?

President Biden set a goal that the U.S. would welcome 100,000 Ukranians through U4U, but the Administration has not set a ceiling for the maximum number of Ukrainians who can arrive through this program. As of mid-July 2022, over 79,000 beneficiaries have been approved. The Administration has not indicated any plans to close the program, especially as the need for refuge for Ukrainians continues.
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Where are Ukrainians going in the United States?

The U.S. is made of many different diaspora communities, including Ukrainian American. Cities with the highest arrivals of Ukrainian newcomers seeking refuge include New York City/Newark, Chicago, Seattle, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Miami. However, Ukrainians, like all who reside in the United States, are free to live wherever they choose, and U4U sponsors have welcomed Ukrainians in large cities and small towns all over the United States, including in Alaska and Hawaii!
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What is humanitarian parole?

Humanitarian parole allows individuals in urgent need of refuge to enter the United States and temporarily stay in the U.S.. While the U.S. government has chosen humanitarian parole as the program for those arriving under Uniting for Ukraine, humanitarian parole is not new. It can be used on a case-by-case basis for other populations.

Humanitarian parole provides:

  • An efficient path to safety and refuge
  • Temporary immigration status
  • Ability to apply for work authorization
  • Access to certain benefits, such as Health Exchange Marketplace insurance plans

Humanitarian parole does not provide:

  • A pathway to permanency and citizenship
  • Automatic work authorization

For humanitarian parolees arriving under for Uniting Ukraine and Ukrainians who were paroled into the country by the Department of Homeland Security after February 24, 2022, the program also provides:

  • Ability to apply for an expanded list of federal benefits, such as Medicaid or food assistance
  • Access to services funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, such as case management, employment, and English language classes

For more information about Uniting for Ukraine, visit USCIS.gov and DHS.gov. Or go to the Office of Refugee Resettlement website for more information about services.

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Who is eligible for sponsorship?

To be eligible for sponsorship, Ukrainians must have been residents of Ukraine as of February 11, 2022. Those who are not Ukrainian citizens but are immediate family members of Ukrainian citizens, such as spouses and children, are also eligible for sponsorship.

To be approved for sponsorship, Ukrainians must attest that they have met program requirements, such as for vaccinations, and pass Department of Homeland Security screening. security checks.

For more information about Uniting for Ukraine, visit USCIS.gov and DHS.gov.

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Who can be a sponsor?

Sponsors may be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or other lawfully present individuals. This includes Ukrainian Americans, immigrants who have Temporary Protected Status (TPS), recently arrived refugees, and other everyday Americans, like you! Nonprofits, educational institutions, and employers can also help sponsor people fleeing Ukraine.

For more information about Uniting for Ukraine, visit USCIS.gov and DHS.gov.

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Do I need to be a family member to serve as a sponsor?

No. Uniting for Ukraine allows anyone to serve as a named sponsor, including extended family, employers, friends, or others interested in welcoming Ukrainians seeking refuge. If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor, sign up on our Welcome Connect platform to find a Ukrainian who is looking for an American sponsor.

As part of their humanitarian parole application, sponsors will undergo background checks conducted by the Department of Homeland Security. Beneficiaries will also be fully vetted and screened as part of the approval process.

For more information about Uniting for Ukraine, visit USCIS.gov and DHS.gov.

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Can I sponsor a Ukrainian with a group of people?

Yes. While not required, your sponsorship experience can be strengthened by working together with a group — be it with friends, family, work colleagues, congregation members or other networks.

There are many reasons to sponsor as part of a group — it makes the work easier, can be deeply rewarding, and helps the arriving family to meet more people in the community. With a group effort, you can share in the joy and responsibilities of helping newcomers thrive in their new communities.

This guide shows how sponsor groups are typically structured. Our in-depth Uniting For Ukraine (U4U) Humanitarian Parole Application Guide details how to submit an application as a group.

Ready to find a Ukrainian beneficiary to sponsor? Sign up on our Welcome Connect platform.

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Can I sponsor a Ukrainian as part of an organization?

Yes. You can sponsor a Ukrainian as a part of an organization, such as church groups, community organizations, or other nonprofits. Sponsorship is often most successful, and most rewarding, when done with others. Sponsoring a Ukrainian as a group allows you to share the work, and cost, of sponsorship. It also introduces the Ukrainian to more people in your community, enabling them to grow their own networks more quickly.

As with any other sponsor group, one person will be the lead sponsor and fill out the sponsor application. The sponsor group will need to show that together, they have the resources to support a Ukrainian newcomer while they seek stability and independence in the U.S.

This guide shows how sponsor groups are typically structured. Our in-depth U4U Humanitarian Parole Application Guide details how to submit an application as an organization.

Ready to find a Ukrainian beneficiary to sponsor? Sign up on our Welcome Connect platform.

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What are a sponsor’s responsibilities?

Sponsors create the support systems that ensure newcomers can thrive. Sponsors are neighbors, cheerleaders, and guides for people starting on a long, difficult, and exciting journey.

More specifically, sponsors are responsible for finding safe and appropriate housing for newcomers. They support newcomers in ensuring health needs are met, kids are enrolled in school, and adults find work, among other factors.

Sponsorship is a deep commitment, but a transformative one for both you and those you welcome. You are changing lives and strengthening your community and country. You don’t have to do it alone. Sponsorship can be most successful, and most joyful, when it is done in a community of friends, family, and colleagues.

Learn more about sponsorship through our interactive tutorials.

This sponsor check-list outlines key sponsor tasks and responsibilities. Our in-depth U4U Humanitarian Parole Application Guide includes more details on sponsorship requirements.

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Do I need to host a Uniting for Ukraine beneficiary in my home?

There are no requirements to host a Ukrainian beneficiary in your home. However, housing can be a challenge in communities across the U.S., and this may be a temporary option deployed. Sponsors are encouraged to remember that many Ukrainians have not had a place to call home for months, and they may be eager for independence. Each beneficiary will have different perspectives, and it’s important to determine housing arrangements together before their arrival.

This Budget Template template can be used by sponsors, or groups of sponsors, to understand what newcomers may need financially after they first arrive, including the cost of housing in your area.

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I have a job that I need filled. Can I sponsor a Ukrainian in order to find an employee?

Uniting for Ukraine is not an employment program. While many Ukranians may be looking for a job once they receive work authorization, linking a newcomer’s sponsorship to a particular job or employer can lead to the potential exploitation of a newcomer, even if that is not the intention of the sponsor. Newcomers may feel that they must take a job, and stay at a job, in exchange for their safety and security, and this can put them in a very vulnerable position. An exception to this may be if an employer sponsors a long term employee, where an employer-employee relationship has been established prior to the Uniting for Ukraine program.
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What are a sponsor’s financial obligations?

There is no fee for filing the paperwork to support a Ukrainian, and the I-134 is not legally binding. However, sponsorship carries with it some basic financial responsibilities. As part of the application process, you will sign a Declaration of Financial Support form, in which you assure the U.S. government that, if needed, you will financially support the Ukrainians you seek to sponsor for the duration of their parole. While the Declaration of Financial Support is not legally binding in most cases, it’s important to recognize that beneficiaries will likely need your help, including financially, as they work to rebuild their lives. What would you want if you were forced from your home by war?

While there is no specific required amount you must dedicate to sponsorship, we know that you want to do what’s right! You and your group should plan to raise at least $3,000 for each person sponsored. This money will help the family get settled in the first 90 days after their arrival in the United States.

These resources will help you plan:

  • Fundraising Tips and Tools. Sponsors may need help meeting the initial needs of newcomers. These tips will help you raise funds to support newcomers as they integrate into their new community.
  • Budget Template. This budget template can be used by sponsors, or groups of sponsors, to understand what newcomers may need financially after they first arrive. Tailoring a template to the individual circumstance of a sponsor and beneficiary will help determine how much money a newcomer might need to get on their feet.
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How will I communicate with someone I hope to sponsor if I don’t speak Ukrainian?

Ukrainians speak a variety of languages, so you may be able to communicate well even if no one in your sponsor group speaks Ukrainian. That being said, part of the fun of sponsorship is coming up with creative solutions to unexpected problems and learning more about your own community.

If you and the Ukrainian you hope to sponsor do not speak a common language, your first impulse may be to turn to Google Translate. That’s an excellent resource and can be used for both interpretation (oral) and translation (written) needs! But you could also reach out to community groups, churches, or local Ukrainian organizations. They may be able to help you find people willing to help and may be able to refer you to interpreters and translators. Social media, such as local Facebook groups, are also a great resource!

Applying to Be a Sponsor

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Who reviews and approves the Uniting for Ukraine (U4U) applications?

The United States Government is solely responsible for reviewing and approving the sponsor and beneficiary applications. The Government is also responsible for providing security vetting of Ukrainians entering the country under Uniting for Ukraine and their potential sponsors.
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What are the steps to become a sponsor?

Our in-depth U4U Humanitarian Parole Application Guide will help you navigate the sponsorship process, from start to finish or approval. The high-level steps are:

  • Step 1: Confirm your eligibility. Sponsors can be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or other lawfully present individuals, such as those with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and refugees. Non-profits, educational institutions, and employers can also help to sponsor people fleeing Ukraine.
  • Step 2: Match with a Ukrainian in need. If you aren’t connected to a Ukrainian in need of support, register on our Welcome Connect platform. On Welcome Connect, potential sponsors complete online training modules, create a profile, and message directly with Ukrainians seeking refuge. Through an open conversation, sponsors and Ukrainian beneficiaries to mutually decide if they’re a good fit and if they want to pursue sponsorship together. Alternatively, national and local partner organizations can help match you with someone who meets the requirements of a beneficiary.
  • Step 3: Fill out the Humanitarian Parole Application. Collect the necessary information and documentation for yourself and your beneficiary, and fill out your online sponsorship application on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) web site.
  • Step 4: Await approval. The U.S. government is solely responsible for approving sponsor applications. While you wait, you can track your application, and both you and the beneficiary may need to respond to any requests for further information.

    Again, please see this U4U Humanitarian Parole Application Guide for more details.

    You can also find more information and the application on the USCIS’ web site.

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How can I be matched with a Ukrainian to sponsor?

If you aren’t connected to a Ukrainian in need of support, register on our Welcome Connect platform. On Welcome Connect, potential sponsors complete online training modules, create a profile, and message directly with Ukrainians seeking refuge. Through an open conversation, sponsors and Ukrainian beneficiaries mutually decide if they’re a good fit and if they want to pursue a humanitarian parole application together.

Alternatively, national and local partner organizations can help match you with someone entering the United States who meets the beneficiary requirements.

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What materials do I need to collect in order to sponsor?

The USCIS wants to understand who are and whether you can support your U4U beneficiary during their time in the U.S., should that be something that the beneficiary needs.

Below are some of the key documents to prepare. Before starting the U4U humanitarian parole application, we suggest converting each document into a format that is easy to upload, such as a PDF or JPG.

Financial documents:

  • Statement(s) from your employer on business stationery showing:
    • Date and nature of employment;
    • Salary paid; and
    • Whether the position is temporary or permanent
    • An employer statement template. You can find a template in the Appendix of this guide.
  • Statement from an officer of the bank or other financial institutions with deposits, identifying the following details regarding the account:
    • Date account opened
    • Total amount deposited for the past year; and
    • Present balance
  • Copy of last U.S. federal income tax return filed (tax transcript); or
  • List containing serial numbers and denominations of bonds and name of record owner(s).

    Citizenship or immigration status

  • A U.S. citizen or U.S. national may submit a copy of a birth certificate, certificate of naturalization, certificate of citizenship, consular report of birth abroad to U.S. parents, or a copy of the biographic data page on your U.S. passport.
  • Proof of lawful permanent resident status includes a photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-551), or a photocopy of an unexpired temporary Form I-551 stamp in either a foreign passport or DHS Form I-94 Arrival Departure Record.
  • Proof of lawful nonimmigrant status may include a copy of an unexpired visa in a foreign passport.

    You’ll also need to collect background material from your beneficiary. For more information on all the materials required, please see the U4U Humanitarian Parole Application Guide.

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What materials do I need to collect from my beneficiary?

The USCIS wants to understand who is coming to this country and what resources U4U beneficiaries have that could contribute to their support while they are in the United States.

Sponsors must work with their U4U beneficiaries to gather the following information.

  • Identification and contact information
    • Other names since birth (including aliases, maiden name, etc.)
    • Phone and email contact information
    • Current mailing and physical address
    • Date of birth
    • City, state, and country of birth
    • Gender
    • Marital status
    • Total number of dependents
  • Travel information
    • Country of citizenship or nationality
    • Country of most recently issued passport
    • Passport number and expiration date
    • A-number (not required and only if applicable)
    • Anticipated period of stay in the U.S. - individuals arriving under Uniting for Ukraine can stay in the U.S. for 24 months
  • Financial information

    • Total value of assets
    • How much income will the beneficiary’s dependents contribute to the beneficiary annually
    • These numbers can be zero, as USCIS will look at both the beneficiary and the sponsor's income and assets.

    You’ll also be asked to submit information about your own financial status. For more information on all the materials required, please see the U4U Humanitarian Parole Application Guide.

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What financial information do I need to submit?

USCIS needs information to determine whether you have the financial resources to support the U4U beneficiary(ies) upon their arrival to the United States. But they are not asking for a complete listing of every single asset you and your household own.

Here’s a list of the financial documents you’ll be asked to submit with your U4U Humanitarian Parole application. We suggest converting each document into an acceptable format, such as a PDF or JPG, before starting the application.

  • Statement(s) from your employer on business stationery showing:
  • Statement from an officer of the bank or other financial institutions with deposits, identifying the following account details:
    • Date account opened
    • Total amount deposited for the past year; and
    • Present balance
  • Copy of your last U.S. federal income tax return filed (tax transcript); or
  • List containing serial numbers and denominations of bonds and name of record owner(s).
  • Proof of sponsor assets that can be used to support the beneficiary
    • For example, sponsors looking to claim their home as an asset are asked to provide documentation demonstrating that you own the home, a recent appraisal by a licensed appraiser, and evidence of the amount of all loans secured by a mortgage, trust deed, or other lien on the home.

You’ll also need to submit proof of citizenship or information about your current immigration status. For more information on all the materials required, please see the U4U Humanitarian Parole Application Guide

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How do I fill out the Uniting for Ukraine application?

Once prepared with the above information, documents, and proof of eligibility, you are ready to fill out the application or the form I-134 on the USCIS’ website.

  • First visit the Uniting for Ukraine page on the USCIS website
  • From the drop-down menu in the center of the page, expand the ‘Who Can be a Supporter for a Beneficiary Under Uniting for Ukraine’ section
  • Scroll to the bottom of the section and click the ‘File Online’ button
  • Create an account (or log in if you’ve already done so)
  • You will be taken to an introductory page for the application
  • Read through the two pages of information provided, clicking ‘Next’ and then ‘Start’ to advance through them
  • Once here, you will have arrived at the starting point of the application

The online workflow to fill out the application is flexible:

  • You can advance through the full application in order to understand the materials, where to upload evidence, and the format required
  • You can save your application and come back to it at a later date if necessary
  • Prior to application submission, you can change the information in the form, such as fix the spelling of the beneficiary’s name
  • Once you submit an application, you cannot change the information in the form, but you can call USCIS Contact Center

If you need support after reviewing the forms and instructions, or after walking through the online application form, you may call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283. For TTY (deaf or hard of hearing), dial 800-767-1833.

You must fill out an I-134 form for each U4U beneficiary you will be sponsoring.

For more information, please see the U4U Humanitarian Parole Application Guide.

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How do I apply for joint sponsorship?

Multiple sponsors may partner together to support a U4U beneficiary. In this case, a sponsor should file an I-134 and include supplemental evidence of the identity and resources of the partnering sponsors and attach a statement explaining the intent to share responsibility to support the beneficiary. Sponsors’ ability to support a beneficiary will be assessed collectively.

You must fill out an I-134 form for each U4U beneficiary you and your partners will be sponsoring.

For more information, please see U4U Humanitarian Parole Application Guide.

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How do I apply for an organizational sponsorship?

One individual sponsor (potentially an employee of the organization (e.g., church or nonprofit) must submit information about themselves and their income and assets. The sponsor may include supplemental information and evidence of the supporting organization explaining the organization’s intent to support both the sponsor and the U4U beneficiary.

You must fill out an I-134 form for each U4U beneficiary your organization will be sponsoring.

For more information, please see the U4U Humanitarian Parole Application Guide.

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What happens after I apply to be a sponsor?

The U.S. government is solely responsible for approving sponsor applications. The process includes vital steps to ensure the safety and protection of Ukrainians and sponsor applicants, including background checks and review of your ability to provide initial financial support. Some applications may move more quickly than others, depending on application-specific information.

Sponsors can track the application’s status online using their USCIS account. We recommend that you check your online account daily for messages, as well as monitor your and your beneficiary’s email for information from USCIS. (Note: be sure to check spam and junk folders for important messages from USCIS).

USCIS might reach out with a request to appear in person for an interview or biometric checks at a nearby USCIS application center. USCIS application centers are commonly located in larger cities and while this may be challenging for some sponsors, it helps protect beneficiaries under U4U from exploitation and harmful risks, such as labor or human trafficking.

While your application is processing, we encourage you to connect with national and local organizations who are dedicating resources and expertise to help you in your journey. See this Guide to Connecting with Local and State Services

We also encourage you to learn about the benefits that may be available to individuals granted humanitarian parole under U4U in your state, such as Medicaid or health insurance plans through state or federal exchanges (learn more at the Office of Refugee Resettlement website), and to review the obligations sponsors have under the Uniting for Ukraine program on the USCIS website.

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How long until I hear back from the government about my application?

Some applications may move more quickly than others, depending on application-specific information. In July 2022, most applications were approved within days.

Sponsors can track the application’s status online using their USCIS account. We recommend that you check your online account daily for messages, as well as monitor your and your beneficiary’s email for information from USCIS. (Note: be sure to check spam and junk folders for important messages from USCIS).

While your application is processing, we encourage you to connect with national and local organizations who are dedicating resources and expertise to help you in your journey. See this Guide to Connecting with Local and State Services

We also encourage you to learn about the benefits that may be available to individuals granted U4U humanitarian parole in your state, such as Medicaid or health insurance plans through state or federal exchanges (learn more at the Office of Refugee Resettlement website) and to review the obligations sponsors have under the U4U program on the USCIS website.

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What are the next steps after my application is approved?

Sponsors and beneficiaries can expect a written decision about the application.

If the application is deemed sufficient, Ukrainian beneficiaries will also receive an email from USCIS with instructions on how to set up an account on the USCIS website and other next steps.

You and your beneficiary should continue to check email daily, including spam and junk folders, for important messages from USCIS.

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What does my beneficiary need to do after the application is approved?

If the application is sufficient, your U4U beneficiary will receive an email from USCIS with instructions on how to set up an account on the USCIS website, and other next steps.

The beneficiary will be asked to confirm their biographic information on the USCIS website. They’ll also be asked to:

  • Certify that they understand the family relationship requirements for children under 18 under Uniting for Ukraine; and
  • Confirm they have completed vaccine requirements or are eligible for an exception to vaccine requirements for measles, polio, and the first dose of an FDA approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccine or a WHO-Emergency use listed (EUL) COVID-19 vaccine.

You and your beneficiary should continue to check your myUSCIS account and your email, including spam and junk folders, for important messages from USCIS.

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How is travel to the U.S. arranged?

After confirming their biographic information and vaccine status, beneficiaries will receive a decision about their travel authorization to their USCIS account. If approved, their travel authorization will be valid for 90 days.

An approved U4U travel authorization is not a guarantee of travel, parole, or processing disposition. The travel authorization enables airline carriers to facilitate generation of a boarding pass and allows the airlines to board the individual for a flight to the United States. Individuals must comply with existing travel requirements and, where applicable, immigration exit requirements of the country that they will be departing from.

Sponsors and beneficiaries should work together to coordinate travel arrangements to the United States within this window. Beneficiaries will need to meet CDC travel requirements.

Upon the Beneficiary’s arrival, they will be inspected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the port of entry. At that time, they’ll be considered for parole for a period of up to two years. They may have conditions placed on their parole, such as for a tuberculosis (TB) screening.

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Can my beneficiary bring their pet?

Ukrainian beneficiaries under U4U may be able to bring their animals to the United States. But these animals will be subject to regulation by the USDA APHIS as all well as other federal agencies. Depending on your destination state, your pet may need to meet additional health requirements.

It’s the responsibility of the pet owner to fully understand these regulations and ensure they are able to meet requirements before arriving in the U.S. with their animal.

Please visit the USDA website and the CDC website for more information.

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How can I contact USCIS directly?

The best way to contact USCIS is through their website.

If you prefer to speak to someone directly, and are within the United States, the toll free number is 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833) and the hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm Eastern. For callers outside of the U.S, please call +1-212-620-3418.

Supporting Newcomers

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What documents and benefits might I need to help a beneficiary apply for?

Sponsors will help beneficiaries apply for critical documents for life in the U.S. including Social Security cards, their State IDs, and their first U.S. Drivers’ License. You’ll also help them open up a new bank account and assist them in applying for Employment Authorization - all critical steps to establishing a stable foothold in their new home.

Newcomers may also need help applying for the many public benefits and services that may be available to them, including healthcare, employment and educational opportunities, and career training.

To find out what the types of services might be available for beneficiaries - and learn how to research and access them in your area - see this Guide to Connecting to State and Local Services. You can also learn more at the Office of Refugee Resettlement website.

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How long does it take for a Social Security and Employment Authorization to process?

While turnaround times vary, it typically takes months for social security and employment authorization to be approved. Sponsors should try to help newcomers apply for both a social security card and employment authorization soon after they arrive. Beneficiaries must be in the United States to apply for these documents. In July 2022, USCIS launched an online application system for I-765s for certain noncitizens, including individuals on humanitarian parole (such as Ukrainians, Afghans, and Cubans). New applicants are encouraged to use the online filing system, as EAD approval through this system may be approved in a few months!

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What can a beneficiary do while they wait for employment authorization?

While the wait for employment authorization can create short-term financial stress for newcomers, there are many ways that sponsors and newcomers can use this time productively. Sponsors should start networking with career training agencies and potential employers. Newcomers can start learning English as soon as they arrive–even before they receive work authorization.

Sponsors can help newcomers build professional networks, do mock interviews, prepare resumes, and learn about the U.S. work culture, all before they receive their Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Newcomers may also be able to join career training programs at local community colleges. Depending upon their skills, newcomers may consider learning how to start a business with a low barrier to entry, such as website design.

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How do I help with housing?

Sponsors can help newcomers secure temporary housing so they have a safe and affordable place to stay in the U.S. Hosting a newcomer in your home is not a requirement, but it can be a short term option. Make sure that such an arrangement works for your household and the beneficiary if this is a path you want to explore. Get started by researching your local housing market and individual apartment buildings to find out about availability, unit sizes, and lease agreement details.

Potential temporary or short-term housing options may include:

  • Hotels
  • Airbnbs
  • Separate living space attached to a private home
  • Hosting within the sponsor’s home

Most newcomers will need a short term option, as they will need to be present in the United States to sign a lease. It is best practice to have the newcomer as the lessee to minimize the dependence of the beneficiary on the sponsor, although a sponsor may co-sign a lease.

You can also find housing options by:

  • Consulting online search tools like Zillow, Apartments.com, and Craigslist
  • Using your networks and contacts
  • Working with a local real estate professional

For more information and best practices, see our Tips for Securing Housing.

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What other types of day to day support will arriving families need?

Sponsors provide support to make sure Ukrainian individuals and families have the resources they need to start a new life in the United States. Most importantly, sponsors help newcomers feel at home by being the friend they can rely on when they have questions and by introducing and including them in their new community.

Day-to-day support might include:

  • Meeting newcomers at the airport and providing initial transportation
  • Finding housing and furnishing the new home
  • Acquiring household supplies, clothing, and groceries
  • Helping identify healthcare providers, find employment, and enroll kids in school
  • Connecting families with local public health agencies for vaccinations

You can use these resources to help you prepare:

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What types of government assistance might Ukrainians on humanitarian parole be eligible for?

Eligibility for government programs depends on a variety of factors, including income level and household composition. As a result, eligibility for public benefits is often determined through an application process, which sponsors can help newcomers navigate.

Ukrainian humanitarian parolees who arrive under Uniting Ukraine or who were granted humanitarian parole after February 24, 2022, by the Department of Homeland Security are eligible for a broad range of government services. Benefit eligibility expanded as a result of legislation signed by President Biden on May 21, 2022, and this expansion is still being operationalized. Programs and benefits include those that are available to refugees, asylees, and other Office of Refugee Resettlement eligible populations such as Cuban/Haitian entrants. Some of these benefits and programs are available at local resettlement agencies in your community.

Benefits and programs available to help you in your sponsorship journey include:

  • Health Insurance: Medicaid, Health insurance plans operating under the Affordable Care Act, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Refugee Medical Assistance, employer-based health insurance programs, and Emergency Medicaid, which provides healthcare coverage in the event of a life-threatening event
  • Healthcare: Low-cost healthcare services at community healthcare centers and school-based clinics, Vaccinations and other health screenings at local public health departments (including for required screening like for tuberculosis), and doctor’s offices that accept the beneficiaries health insurance plan
  • Cash assistance: Refugee Cash Assistance and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Childcare: childcare financial assistance programs, Early Head Start and Head Start, summer and after school programs for youth, and youth programs run by nonprofits
  • Youth education: public school enrollment and associated services, such as free and reduced lunch and parent engagement programs, local Refugee School Impact programs, and public library programs
  • Nutrition and Food Assistance: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) services and benefits, and local food banks
  • Workforce and Job Training: workforce and training services at American Job Centers (workforce centers); employment services funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement and your state’s State Refugee Coordinator office; Refugee Career Pathway programs, community college training programs, apprenticeships, and job skills training programs at employers
  • Adult education: English classes, including those funded through state adult education programs and State Refugee Coordinator offices, community college and institution of higher education classes, and trainings for in-demand occupations, such as Commercial Drivers Licenses for jobs in the trucking industry

Each family or individual may have different needs and different eligibility for federal and state programs, and programs will vary by state. That’s another reason to connect with local service organizations that can help guide sponsors through the local ecosystem.

Learn more about the programs funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement and find out more about programs available for refugees in your state by searching for your state’s State Refugee Coordinator Office. In many states, this will be in your Department of Human (or Social) Services, but in some states, it might be at a nonprofit. Find your state refugee coordinator here. Find out where refugee resettlement agencies are by checking out this map.

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Where can I find employment opportunities for Ukrainians seeking refuge in the U.S.?

Sponsors can help newcomers find secure, safe, and dignified employment. They can also seek out programs and resources that provide job coaching, personal finance tutoring, and networking for job opportunities.

To get started:

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How do I help with schooling and education?

Sponsors can help newcomers enroll themselves or family members in school and English classes. These are important steps in helping newcomers adjust and communicate with confidence as they become part of their new communities.

Every resident, regardless of immigration status, can enroll in the United States’ public school system for kindergarten through high school. Some school districts may have newcomer centers or community school programs that help students transition to a new learning environment.

More specifically, sponsors can support newcomers by:

  • Researching and communicating with the local school district
  • Collecting the paperwork needed for enrollment, such as proof of address and vaccination records
  • Finding community colleges that serve first-generation students and may be used to seeing foreign transcripts
  • Helping them enroll in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes through your state’s adult education programs

See our Guidance for Connecting to Local and State Services resource for more information.

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How do I help newcomers with healthcare?

Sponsors can help newcomers access basic health care services and navigate the complex U.S. health system by:

  • Familiarizing newcomers with healthcare resources in their communities, such as Federally Qualified Health Care Centers and pharmacies
  • Researching health insurance options, such as Medicaid, Affordable Care Act plans, or employer-sponsored programs
  • Setting up healthcare appointments. Ukrainians should get screened for tuberculosis as soon as possible after arrival. They must get screened, as a condition of their parole, within 90 days of their arrival. Sponsors can find screenings, and information about local screening options, at local health departments and more information about TB, including in Ukrainian, at the CDC.

See our Guidance for Connecting to Local and State Services resource for more information. Sponsors can also share this guide with the community health center or primary care physician to help them prepare for the newcomer’s patient visit.

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How do I support language needs?

Acknowledge that learning a new language is hard. Imagine being in a new country and unable to communicate clearly. Language learning can be tedious and frustrating. You can support newcomers in prioritizing language learning, while also maintaining compassion and acknowledging their difficulties.

Visit your state’s adult education program online to get a list of providers with English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. Also, identify additional resources and partners that can help with tasks and issues related to education and language. Ensure schools have the necessary resources, including language learning, to support newcomer needs.

See our Guidance for Connecting to Local and State Services resource for more information.