NEWS & ALERTS
The Department of State is not offering visa services in Ukraine at this time. We continue to encourage U.S. citizens in need of emergency assistance in Ukraine to fill out our online form.
The Department of State is sharing the information below to further clarify visa options and outline alternatives to visas that Ukrainians may consider. It is important to note that a visa is not a viable way to achieve refugee resettlement in the United States.
Uniting for Ukraine: The Department of Homeland Security’s Uniting for Ukraine program provides a pathway for displaced Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members who are outside the United States to come to the United States and stay temporarily for up to two years. Ukrainians participating in Uniting for Ukraine must have a supporter in the United States who agrees to provide them with financial support for the duration of their stay in the United States. For more information, visit https://www.dhs.gov/ukraine.
Nonimmigrant visas are for temporary stays in the United States. They are not the appropriate tool to begin an immigrant, refugee, or resettlement process. If you apply for a nonimmigrant visa but are unable to demonstrate intent to leave the United States after a defined period in order to return to a residence abroad, a consular officer will refuse your application. All B1/B2 visa applicants are assumed to be intending immigrants—and therefore ineligible for a nonimmigrant visa—unless they can establish otherwise. Nonimmigrant visa applicants may apply at any embassy or consulate where they are physically present and where appointments are available. Current instructions on appointment scheduling along with details on availability and processing are available on the website of each embassy and consulate, a full list of which is available here: https://www.usembassy.gov/. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, applicants may face extended visa interview wait times at some Embassies and Consulates. Appointment wait times are available at U.S. Visas (state.gov). Once an interview appointment is made, applicants will have the ability to request an expedited appointment, but must describe the unique circumstances that justify such a request.
Immigrant visas are for foreign nationals who intend to live and/or work permanently in the United States. In most cases, a relative or employer sponsors the individual by filing a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Further information on immigrant visas can be found here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate.html.
Newly Scheduled Immigrant Visa Appointments: U.S. Consulate General Frankfurt is the designated processing post for all Ukrainian immigrant visa applications except adoption cases. All newly scheduled immigrant visa cases will be slated for appointments at the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt. Adoption cases are being handled at U.S. Embassy Warsaw.
Requesting Expedited Processing of I-130 Petitions: If you filed a Form I-130 petition with USCIS and it has not yet been approved, you may inquire with USCIS regarding expedition: https://www.uscis.gov/forms/filing-guidance/how-to-make-an-expedite-request.
There is also a USCIS help line if you are an active U.S. military member: https://www.uscis.gov/military/military-help-line.
Local File Option for Certain I-130 Petitions U.S. Citizen Petitioners: If you are a U.S. citizen who is physically present overseas with your immediate family members and have not yet filed an immigrant visa petition with USCIS, you may request to locally file an I-130 immigrant visa petition at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate that processes immigrant visas. This applies only to U.S. citizens physically present in that consular district filing petitions for their spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents who have fled Ukraine. Please email your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate’s Immigrant Visa Unit if you believe you may qualify to locally file an I-130 petition. You can find those email addresses at each individual embassy or consulates’ website.
Requesting Expedited Immigrant Visa Processing from National Visa Center (NVC): If you already have received approval of your I-130 petition from USCIS, but have not yet been scheduled for an appointment in Frankfurt, NVC may be able to expedite processing of your case. For more information on NVC case processing, please visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/national-visa-center/immigrant-visas-processing-general-faqs.html. Please be aware that expedited case processing does not apply to family preference visa categories where a case is not current.
Transferring Immigrant Visa Cases from Embassy Kyiv: If you had an immigrant visa case pending with U.S. Embassy Kyiv that was not an adoption case, it has been transferred to Frankfurt. Adoption cases have been transferred to Warsaw. If you would like to transfer processing of an immigration case to another U.S. embassy or consulate, please contact the receiving U.S embassy or consulate’s Immigrant Visa Unit in that country to request a case transfer. The Embassy will have a list of requirements which must be satisfied in order to begin the transfer process.
Transferring Immigrant Visa Cases from NVC: Immigrant visa applicants who have received an NVC case number and have supplied all supporting information to become “documentarily qualified” will receive notice of their Frankfurt appointment in the coming months (see also NVC expedite paragraph above). Those who are not yet scheduled for an interview appointment and would like to transfer their case somewhere other than Frankfurt should follow the directions here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/national-visa-center/nvc-contact-information.html
The Department is actively working with Adoption Service Providers (ASPs) to provide guidance and answer questions during this critical time. Please see more information at Information for U.S. Citizens In the Process of Adopting in Ukraine. This resource addresses adoptions and intended adoptions at various stages of the process and provides guidance on whom to consult and clarifications on the Department's potential role and ability to assist. Prospective adoptive parents should consult their ASP about how the crisis in Ukraine may impact their adoption plans. Families who previously hosted a child but are not yet approved to adopt may wish to consult the hosting organization to learn what efforts are being made on behalf of the host child.
COVID-19 Entry Requirements
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has exercised its enforcement discretion to allow certain persons from Ukraine to travel to the United States without a pre-departure COVID-19 test until April 1. For more information, please refer to the CDC website at: https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/fr-proof-negative-test.html.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has amended the national interest exception from Presidential Proclamation 10294, which allows certain Ukrainian travelers to the United States to enter without showing proof of COVID-19 requirements. For more information, please refer to the DHS website at: https://www.dhs.gov/publication/national-interest-exception-presidential-proclamation-10294.
Parole is a program run by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that allows an individual, who may be inadmissible or otherwise ineligible for admission into the United States, to be in the United States for a temporary period for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.
It is not meant to replace a visa process. Anyone can file an application for humanitarian parole. Further information and instructions are available here: https://www.uscis.gov/forms/explore-my-options/humanitarian-parole. Those who wish to apply for humanitarian parole should contact USCIS directly.
Almost all refugee cases in countries abroad are processed by local authorities or the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Ukrainians should not attempt to apply for visas in order to travel to the United States as refugees. Instead, they should contact local authorities or UNHCR for refugee processing. Additional information is available from UNHCR : https://help.unhcr.org, including information about non-governmental organizations that may be able to provide additional assistance. Additionally, USAID’s website has information for Ukrainian refugees: https://www.usaid.gov/usaid-response-ukraine/resources-refugees-asylum-seekers
The International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s Resettlement Support Center (RSC) Eurasia is continuing limited operations from Kyiv and from the sub-office in Chisinau, Moldova. At present, RSC Eurasia is not conducting any in-person activities, nor scheduling any departures, from Kyiv. We encourage applicants who are in harm’s way to find safety and shelter wherever possible. The sub-office in Chisinau can arrange departures for approved Ukrainian Lautenberg applicants who have completed all U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) processing requirements and are physically outside of Ukraine.
If you had an active USRAP case with RSC Eurasia, your case remains active and case processing is continuing, to the extent possible. The current security situation in Ukraine will not have an impact on your USCIS decision or overall case processing. However, we anticipate that some resettlement processing activities may be delayed. We cannot indicate a timeline at this time. Applicants that were being processed in Ukraine and have changed location and/or departed the country should write to RSC Eurasia and inform the RSC of their new location and contact information.
Our European partners offer many resources for people displaced by the war in Ukraine. We encourage Ukrainians to consult local government authorities in their current location to determine what might be available as you consider resettlement options.
If you need more information or have any questions call 407-226-3659 to schedule a free consultation at our Orlando or Tampa office.