Can Ukrainian Refugees Come to the United States?


Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine has prompted our law office to discuss the options that may be open to Ukrainian refugees.

Here’s what you need to know.

Temporary Protected Status

If you were already in the United States or arrived prior to March 1, you have Temporary Protected Status. This means you can stay and work in the United States for 18 months.

While 18 months isn’t a very long time when you may be doubting whether you’ll ever see Ukraine again, TPS is quite useful. It can be extended, and it offers you a work permit. There is a chance you’ll be able to adjust your status later if you end up qualifying for one of the other green card programs. 

Visitor’s Visas

If you missed the deadline to receive TPS then you may be able to apply for a Visitor’s Visa as a stopgap. This will give you six months, even though the US government knows there is little chance most of these refugees will ever return to Ukraine.

After you have the visa you may be able to apply for an extension, or you may be able to adjust your status and apply for other visa types. Once you or the family member you’re trying to help has been in the United States for long enough their circumstances may shift to allow them to seek other visa types. It also gets them temporarily safe, in a way that may simply allow them to apply for asylum. 

Special Situations

USCIS has taken some steps and is offering some relief on a case-by case basis, including:

  • Expedited parole request processing.
  • Expedited requests for off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students.
  • Expedited adjudication of petitions or applications, including employment authorization applications.
  • Consideration of fee waiver requests for those who have an inability to pay.
  • Expedited replacement of lost or damaged immigration or travel documents.
  • Ukrainians are free to apply for tourist visas and work visas from wherever they are. Many are stopping in Mexico first and are applying at the border. 

How Title 42 Impacts the Situation

Title 42 is a policy that was invoked by Donald Trump when the Covid-19 crisis first hit. It is a statute in immigration law which allows the Surgeon General to block immigration from certain nations if the threat of communicable diseases carried from that country is too high. 

The March 2020 interpretation allows U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to immediately remove anyone who enters the country without authorization in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19. This meant many immigrants didn’t even receive formal deportation orders or a chance to defend themselves in court. 

It does not appear to be impacting Ukrainian refugees at this time, even though it continues to impact many other immigrants from many other nations. 

Get Help Today

Many refugees are struggling. If you have the resources to do so, involving an immigration lawyer can make a big difference when you’re trying to get your Ukranian family members to safety.

Our office can help. Contact Hykel Law to schedule a consultation today. 

See also: 

7 Documents You’ll Need for Your Asylum Case

How to Help Your Parents Enter the United States Legally

Is My Family Member Eligible for Immigration?

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Employment & Investment Visas

Although it often comes with controversy, immigration into the United States has always played a major role in the strength of its economy. Perhaps no one understands this more than the residents of Philadelphia, where the Liberty Bell still welcomes foreigners to one of the richest historical communities of our country.


Family Visas

Not knowing or understanding the system and laws of the U.S. can be a disadvantage for many foreign immigrants who wish to obtain permanent residency in the United States, either for themselves or for their loved ones. Hykel Law’s Family-Based Immigration Services can lead you through the complicated process to achieve either temporary or permanent residency, depending on your situation.


Deportation Defense

Are you afraid of deportation? If you are a foreign national involved in the beginning stages of removal proceedings, the deportation attorney at Hykel Law in Philadelphia can help prevent this unfortunate situation. We can evaluate your immigration case and find the best strategy to defend you from removal proceedings to help you stay in the United States.

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