Get answers to frequently asked questions about the Uniting for Ukraine (U4U) program established through USCIS sponsorship.
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.
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!
What is humanitarian parole for Ukrainians?
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 Uniting for 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
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.
Do I need to be a family member to serve as a sponsor for a Ukrainian?
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.
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!