U.S. Immigration Options for Ukrainians Impacted by the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
What are your options if you or a loved one is in danger in Ukraine?
The war in Ukraine with Russia is volatile, and a situation that is constantly developing. However, for those in Ukraine, and for family members living in the United States, this is a situation that is fraught with uncertainty. This article is meant to explain different options that could be available to you or your family member, depending on your specific situation.
These options are meant to give an overview of what could be available:
Humanitarian Parole - This option is meant to be an extraordinary measure for situations like the war in Ukraine. You can apply for a family member by using USCIS Form I-131, or if you are in Ukraine, you can apply for yourself. The USCIS application fee is $575, and you will designate which consulate you will interview at on Form I-131.
Extension of Status or Change of Status - If you are Ukrainian, and are currently in the U.S. on a visa (example, Visitor Visa or H1B), and your I-94 document is about to expire or has expired, you can file USCIS Form I-539 to extend your current visa status, or change your status to a different visa classification. USCIS will charge an application fee when you file Form I-539 either online or in the mail.
Expedited Request with the National Visa Center - If you have a case pending with the National Visa Center, you can email the consulate and ask for the consulate to expedite the processing of your case because of the unsafe situation in Ukraine.
Expedite a case with USCIS - If you filed Form I-130 for a family member who is in Ukraine, and the application is still pending with USCIS, you can request USCIS expedite the processing of the I-130. Your reason for the expedite request is a humanitarian reason - unsafe conditions in Ukraine due to the ongoing war. Click this link to view more information from USCIS on how to expedite the processing of your I-130 application.
With all of these options, it is important to keep in mind that typically USCIS does not make decisions quickly, but a request to expedite a case should certainly be requested, given the unique situation many people are facing in Ukraine.
If you would like to schedule a consultation to talk about your situation or a family member’s situation in more detail, please call our office to make an appointment.