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United States citizens, churches and nonprofits can apply to sponsor Ukrainian citizens through President Biden’s Uniting for Ukraine initiative. The Department of Homeland Security program is a “streamlined process for Ukrainian citizens who have been displaced by Russia’s aggression to apply for humanitarian parole in the United States.”
Humanitarian parole is a faster process to gaining entry to the U.S. than applying for asylum or refugee status, but Ukrainians who are accepted will have fewer benefits. Because they won’t have work authorization, they’ll need a sponsor to support them during their time in the U.S.
Ukrainians who are approved will be able to travel to the U.S. and remain for up to two years. Once paroled, they will be eligible for work authorization.
The Uniting for Ukraine program is the first concrete policy in response to Biden’s pledge to welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainians who are fleeing Russia’s invasion.
The Uniting for Ukraine program is meant to minimize asylum seekers at the Mexico border. In March, over 3,000 Ukrainians tried to enter the U.S. through Mexico. Now, Ukrainians who try to enter the U.S. without a visa or will be denied entry and referred to apply through Uniting for Ukraine, the White House stated.
“DHS will continue to provide relief to the Ukrainian people, while supporting our European allies who have shouldered so much as the result of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine,” Secretary Alejando Mayorkas shared in a statement.
Sponsors will have to formally declare their financial support and go through a background check to prevent exploitation and abuse. Any U.S. citizen or group can apply to sponsor a Ukrainian seeking refuge. The application is through DHS.