Updated: April 25, 2022
Information and Resources for Ukrainians
Global emergencies or wars can displace millions of refugees across the globe. Recently, Keen Law Offices has been receiving calls asking for urgent emergency immigration assistance. We are providing this article to hopefully provide some assistance to Ukrainians and other refugees anywhere in the world.
Location matters. For those already in the United States of America (USA) please schedule a consultation so we can review your individual situation, provide you with valuable legal advice and identify possible applications and remedies available for your specific set of circumstances. For those outside the USA, there are not many options for urgent emergency immigration that immigration attorneys in the USA can assist with. Most of the process attorneys can use to help those outside the USA wishing to come here involve a lengthy wait time. However, there are some potential options for refugees outside the United States to explore on their own or through other channels.
President Biden announced some additional possibilities for Ukrainians in April of 2022. There is a new form for the Uniting for Ukraine humanitarian parole program called I-134 Declaration of Financial Support. https://www.uscis.gov/i-134?utm_campaign=HubSpot-AILA8-04-25-2022&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=211082467&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_b8_ZqzTvd3SQTZ2y782zxyIGl74U_Nyy-g_amKVkI59s5hHXiHJQr8HcccDxYteYLIbabYk_BdZPx88ZSCVTyORlSUw&utm_content=211082467&utm_source=hs_email
Use this form to sponsor a visa applicant and show they will not become public charges while in the United States. You must file a separate affidavit for each applicant.
Hiring an immigration attorney will provide you help in filing forms and applications.
Some general resources for Refugees from Ukraine can be found at:
Humanitarian Parole for persons outside the USA
Keen Law Offices may be able to assist someone outside the USA to apply for temporary admission through the Humanitarian Parole program. Humanitarian Parole allows an individual who may be inadmissible or otherwise ineligible for admission into the USA to be in the USA for a temporary period for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. It allows an individual who may be inadmissible or otherwise ineligible for admission into the United States to be in the United States for a temporary period for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. For more info visit this USCIS webpage entitled Humanitarian Parole. Although applying for Humanitarian Parole may not necessarily be a quick process, it could be a faster option than traditional Visa applications. If you, or someone you know outside the USA is interested in exploring this potential option, then please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.
Temporary Protected Status for persons within the USA
For those inside the USA, it may be possible for you to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). TPS is only a temporary status and may not necessarily provide a path to permanent residency in the USA. However, it can be extremely helpful to persons that would otherwise be required to return to their country of origin. TPS is only available to persons from a foreign country specially designated for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country's nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS. For more info visit this United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) webpage entitled Temporary Protected Status. If you or someone you know inside the USA is interested in exploring this potential option, then please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.
Refugee Resettlement Program and Asylum
Details about the USA Refugee Resettlement Program and Asylum are described below
What is a Refugee?
A Refugee is generally defined as a person “who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.” They often cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal, and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing to other countries. For more info, see these UNHCR webpages titled the UN Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees and What is a Refugee?.
To be considered for Refugee Status in the USA, a person must also be located outside the USA, not firmly resettled in another country, and otherwise be eligible for admission to the USA. For more info, visit this USCIS webpage titled Refugees.
What is the general process to begin seeking Refugee Status?
The process can vary, but generally a person applies for Refugee Status in the sanctuary country they flee to (often one that borders their own). Refugee Status can be obtained through the UNHCR. UNHCR is the refugee agency governed by the UN. UNHCR works with local volunteers and humanitarian organizations to assist and serve refugees fleeing their country of origin. For more info about UNHCR, visit the UNHCR Homepage.
How can a person apply for Refugee Status with the USA?
To be considered for Refugee Status in the USA, a person must be referred to the USA Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) by the UNHCR, a U.S. Embassy, or some other non-governmental organization (NGO) designated by the USA. Persons may also be considered for Refugee Status through a special US Refugee Program that they would apply for through a US Department of State Support Center. For more info, please see this USCIS webpage entitled Refugee Status.
What special immigration programs are available in the USA for Refugees?
The USA for UNHCR is the USA's official agency that coordinates with the worldwide UNHCR. USA for UNHCR has specific info regarding programs to assist those in need displaced by various global emergencies like: those in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Central America, Venezuela, Central African Republic, Iraq, Sudan, Europe, people who are Sahel or Rohingya, and the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic. For more info, visit this USA for UNHCR webpage entitled Emergencies.
How is Refugee Status protection different than Asylum in the USA?
People applying for Asylum have not yet received a protected status recognized by the USA and must apply for it by filing an Affirmative Asylum Application with USCIS or by filing a Defensive Asylum Application with Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) during immigration court proceedings. For more info regarding the Affirmative Asylum Process, visit this USCIS webpage entitled The Affirmative Asylum Process. For more info regarding the Defensive Asylum Process, visit this USCIS webpage entitled Obtaining Asylum in the United States.
Persons with Refugee Status come to the USA based on referrals to the USRAP by the UNHCR, a U.S. Embassy, or some other NGO designated by the USA. Persons may also receive Refugee Status through a special US Refugee Program that they apply for through a US Department of State Support Center. For more info, visit this USCIS page regarding Refugee Status.
When may someone apply for Asylum Status with the USA?
Persons may apply for Asylum before coming to the US, upon arrival at a US port of entry, or up to 1 year after arriving in the US. If more than 1 year has passed since the person has arrived in the US, they generally may only apply for Asylum within 1 year of new significant changed or extraordinary circumstances that would cause them to fear future persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion in their country of origin (for example, a new civil war, new political conflict, or other new crisis in their country of origin may apply). However, this time limit is suspended for minors. Minors are allowed to apply for Asylum up until 1 year after reaching the age of 18. For more info visit this USCIS page entitled Asylum Bars.
How can I help Refugees living abroad or within the USA?
While there are organizations and volunteers that regularly assist Refugees living abroad or within the USA, they need much more resources and volunteers. Some international, national, and local organizations you might consider contacting to offer your time or resources are:
National Organizations in the USA
Local Organizations in Utah
Local Organizations outside of Utah