9. März 2022

Leaving Ukraine – 10 von 11 Insights

Legal and practical guide for people leaving Ukraine to the U.S.

  • Quick read

U.S. Immigration Options for Ukrainians Due to War in Ukraine

The following is an FAQ with information concerning current options due to the war in the Ukraine and does not consider additional nonimmigrant and/or immigrant visa options based on family or employer sponsorship.
In addition, the following is meant to be informational only and does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend that travelers consult with a U.S. immigration attorney prior to making any plans to enter the U.S.

I am in the Ukraine and am interested in traveling to the U.S. to escape the violence created by the war. How may I travel to the U.S.?

Currently, the only visa option would be the B-2 visitor visa, unless the traveler has an available employment or family-based option. The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv is closed, but U.S. consulates in Europe are accepting B-2 visa appointments for Ukrainian nationals who have managed to depart the Ukraine. What remains to be seen is how U.S. consular officers will treat Ukrainian B-2 visa applicants – this visa type is meant for short-term, temporary visits to the U.S., so their intentions could be challenged due to the fact that returning to the Ukraine does not appear to be an option in the short-term. Officers could also deny Ukrainian B-2 applicants over concerns that they will use the B-2 to enter the U.S. and apply for asylum.

I am a Ukrainian refugee in Europe. Can I apply for asylum to the U.S.?

Unfortunately, no. To apply for asylum to the U.S., the applicant must be physically in the U.S.

I heard about Temporary Protected Status (TPS) being granted to Ukrainians due to the crisis in the Ukraine – is that an option for me?

The U.S. recently afforded TPS to Ukrainian citizens, but only those who were in the U.S. prior to March 1, 2022 and continue to be physically present in this country.

I am stuck in Europe having fled the violence in the Ukraine. Aside from the B-2 visitor visa option, is there no other way to travel to the U.S.?

Currently, no. We are hearing that the U.S. government may provide special relief in the form of affording refugee status to Ukrainian refugees in Europe, currently there is no such process in place. The U.S. government could develop a policy under which Ukrainians may apply for Humanitarian Parole, which would afford a means via which they may enter the U.S. temporarily.

The process is that the individual has to first enter the US somehow. Many asylum applicants enter illegally, but that can be difficult and dangerous – a good example is what is happening at our border with Mexico. Assuming the individual enters the US, then he or she must apply for asylum within one year of that entry. The asylum application does not allow the individual to remain here lawfully, so they are technically deportable. After 150 days, the asylum applicant becomes eligible to apply for an EAD and can keep renewing the EAD while the asylum application is pending.

Please note - no one should make a decision to enter the U.S. on the basis of this guide. Anyone thinking about entering the U.S. should first consult with immigration counsel.

In dieser Serie

Budapest

Legal and practical guide for people leaving Ukraine to Hungary

Available in Ukrainian | Update from 18 March 2022

In-depth analysis

von Torsten Braner, LL.M., Dr. János Kopasz, CIPP/E

Warschau

Legal and practical guide for people leaving Ukraine to Poland

Available in Ukrainian | Update from 28 March 2022

In-depth analysis

von Krystian Stanasiuk, LL.M., Michal Zabost

Bratislava

Legal and practical guide for people leaving Ukraine to Slovakia

Available in Ukrainian | Update from 23 March 2022

Briefing

von JUDr. Andrea Čupel'ová, Mgr. Tomáš Grell, LL.M.

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