On Monday, April 25, 2022, the U.S. federal government launched Uniting for Ukraine sponsorship initiative to allow U.S. residents to sponsor Ukrainian evacuees. The initiative grants Temporary Protective Status (TPS) to Ukrainians and will enable up to 100,000 Ukrainians to enter the United States because of the unprovoked Russian invasion and war that has led to millions of displaced persons.
JFS will provide information as we learn of it for this special program.
Here is what we know:
- The Uniting for Ukraine sponsorship program allows individuals to formally sponsor qualifying Ukrainians to come to the United States under a parole status. You do not need to be a family member to be a sponsor.
- Ukrainians entering the country through this program will not be defined legally as refugees and will not be eligible for refugee resettlement support such as housing placement, cash assistance, or other resettlement services.
- Unlike refugees, this process will not lead to permanent status in the United States.
- Vetting of Ukrainians for entry to the United States will occur abroad.
- Form I-134 is completed by an individual (sponsor) other than the beneficiary (Ukrainian) who is agreeing to financially support the beneficiary for the period of his or her temporary stay in the United States. Sponsor applicants will also be vetted as part of the process. The sponsored Ukrainian will not qualify for public benefits; therefore, potential sponsors are also committing to support healthcare, shelter, food, and other necessities.
- There is no government-structured process to connect potential sponsors with Ukrainians that may want to come to the U.S.
- Individuals or groups are eligible to apply to sponsor a Ukrainian; however, if a group, one person must be named as the sponsor on the sponsorship application. Here is the application link: https://www.uscis.gov/i-134
- Once in the United States, Ukrainian adults will be eligible to apply for work authorizations and Ukrainian youth will be authorized to attend school.
- Timing of the various steps of the processes is not yet known.
We know that this generous community in Western New York wants to help to support Ukrainian refugees. We ask that you please allow agencies like JFS to work with our partners in the Ukrainian American community to look at and understand the Uniting for Ukraine program so we can better guide and support you in your efforts. We hope to provide information sessions, trainings, and sponsorship support mechanisms to ensure the safety and well being of both sponsors and those being sponsored.
Once additional information is gathered, including any advocacy initiatives, we will update this page accordingly and as quickly as possible.
Additional information links:
DHS (Department of Homeland Security)
USCIS (United States Customs and Immigration Service)
HIAS (formerly Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society)
RCUSA (Refugee Council USA)