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  • Writer's pictureNimsy Garcia


Updated: Feb 26, 2022

US immigration options for Ukrainians, last updated on 26 Feb 2022



REFUGEE status –The EU has pledged to accept refugees from Ukraine but it appears that Poland is currently taking the lead on aiding Ukrainian refugees. This does not mean other countries aren’t assisting refugees but if you are in Poland or trying to get to Poland, Poland has established means to help Ukrainians.

Please see the information below:

Refugee assistance:

Free Legal Assistance in Poland:


ASYLUM – If you are eligible to apply for Asylum in the USA, you can apply from the MX/US border. This is not an option if you are on the CA/US border.


CONSULAR PROCESSING - If you currently have a National Visa Center (NVC) application for a Ukrainian family member (parent, child, spouse) and this family member is abroad, you can ask for the case to be expedited for emergency/humanitarian reasons.

*Note, the visa you are requesting must be available. Your attorney should know if the visa you are requesting is available. Basically, if you are a green card holder and are applying for a family member to come to the US you might have to wait for a visa to become available before you can make any expedited requests. However, if you are a US citizen and you have family (spouse/children/parents/widows) you do not have to wait for a visa because those visas are unlimited.

For all other applicants (employment/student/tourist visas) that had been waiting for their immigration interviews with the NVC in Ukraine, you can request to have this interview transferred to a US Consulate in another country. My understanding is that many European countries, particularly Romania, Poland, Moldova, Ireland, are now accepting these requests for Ukrainians.

ASYLUM – In general, asylum is for individuals seeking protection from personal* persecution or fear that they will face persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

*Asylum is a tough standard to meet and your basis for asylum must be personal to you – it can’t be “general.” I say this only to manage expectations. If you believe you will face serious persecution for a reason that is personal, then you might be eligible for this benefit.

If you have an asylum application pending and your family (children/spouse) are in Ukraine, you can ask for this process to be expedited.

You can only apply for asylum in the USA/on the MX/US border.

REFUGEE STATUS - On Thursday, February 24, 2022, the White House released that it would accept Ukrainian refugees but there is NO actual procedure in place for this yet. Until then, seeking refugee status as a Ukrainian to the USA is not an option.


My educated guess – THIS HAS NOT HAPPENED YET – is that the U.S. government will permit Ukrainians currently in the United States to receive temporary protected status (TPS)/deferred enforced departure (DED). TPS countries are countries in which a national is unable to return to safely. DED is similar to TPS but it is at the president’s discretion to authorize what countries are designated under this program (as opposed to TPS which is designated by the Department of Homeland).

TPS is an immigration benefit that allows nationals of designated countries to stay in the USA temporarily without deportation. TPS/DED are not paths to permanent residency (aka green card) but if you are granted TPS you can apply for work and travel authorization. TPS holders can also apply for a different immigration benefit when it becomes available. This means if you have TPS and you later become eligible to apply for an immigration benefit, such as adjustment of status (green card), then you may do so.

NOTE – A US tourist visa does not grant you any kind of immigration benefit but if you are a Ukrainian and have a US tourist visa, you can enter the U.S.

Even without Ukraine being designed as a TPS country, if you are in the US with a non-immigrant visa (tourist/business), you can ask for a visa extension.

HUMANITARIAN PAROLE (HP) – Humanitarian parole allows someone to temporarily enter the US if they have an urgent humanitarian reason. HP is difficult to receive, you will have better chances of receiving HP if you have close family (spouse/children/parents) in the US.

It is possible that the US government will make this option available to Ukrainians similar to what happened in 2021 for Afghanis. However, this is not currently an immigration option.

Other considerations: If you have worked with an attorney on your immigration matter in the past or are currently working with an attorney, please consider contacting them for legal advice. It is more efficient to contact an attorney with prior knowledge and access to your information than to contact an attorney that does not know you or your prior history. If you don’t have an attorney, consider talking to one.

HELP UKRAINIAN REFUGEES BY CONTACTING your Reps to demand Biden act immediately and make immigration options such as TPS, DED and HP available.

Support UKRAINE:

Template letter to send to your REPS -

Please note this is not legal advice. This is general information. You should talk to an attorney for legal assistance.

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