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FAQs about Uniting for Ukraine Including Applying for SSN and Benefits

July 06, 2022
Anna Buskila

Since Uniting for Ukraine went live on April 25, 2022, Ukrainian beneficiaries and their family members have been arriving in the U.S. While beneficiaries have support from their family, friends, and sponsors, many questions still arise while adjusting to the new reality. Below are answers to the frequently asked questions about Uniting for Ukraine from our clients.

Is Uniting for Ukraine limited to the first 100,000 applications?

  • There are no numerical limits on requests for travel authorization or parole under Uniting for Ukraine.

What is my status in the U.S. if I arrived through Uniting for Ukraine?

  • Individuals who enter the U.S. under Uniting for Ukraine are considered parolees. While parole is not a lawful immigration status, parole enables a person to lawfully enter the U.S., provides temporary lawful presence in the U.S., and protects from removal while in the authorized parole timeframe.

What is my status in the U.S. if I was allowed to enter through the Southwest border before Uniting for Ukraine was implemented?

  • Generally, Ukrainians and their family were paroled into the U.S. for a period of up to one year before Uniting for Ukraine was implemented. Please check your passport and any other documents provided to confirm that you were paroled in the U.S. If you were paroled into the U.S., you are a parolee. While parole is not a lawful immigration status, parole enables a person to lawfully enter the U.S., provides temporary lawful presence in the U.S., and protects from removal while in the authorized parole timeframe.

Can I work as a parolee? What about self-employment?

  • You are not authorized to work just by virtue of being a parolee. However, you are eligible to apply for discretionary employment authorization document (EAD) by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization with the required fee or a fee waiver. You can start working once the EAD has been received.
  • This applies to both working for someone else or being self-employed. You need to have an EAD to work legally regardless of the form of employment. If you violate any U.S. laws, including unauthorized work, the parole may be terminated.

Am I eligible to receive a Social Security Number (SSN)?

  • Generally, the Social Security officewill not assign an SSN to a foreign national who is not authorized to work, unless the foreign national has a valid nonwork reason for an SSN.
  • Work authorized SSN:
    • You may apply for a work authorized SSN through the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization or through the Social Security office once the EAD has been received.
  • Nonwork authorized SSN:
    • You may apply for a non-work authorized SSN for the purpose of applying for a federal, state, or local benefit that requires proof of your SSN. To qualify, you must present a letter from the federal, state, or local entity that explains the need for the SSN. The letter must:
      • Be dated and on the official agency letterhead;
      • Specifically identify your name, the nonwork related reason for which the SSN is required, the relevant statute or regulations requiring the SSN as a condition to receive the benefit or service, and include the name and phone number of an official issuing the letter for verification purposes;
      • State that you meet all the requirements to receive the benefit or service, except for an SSN; and
      • Include the wet signature of the authorized official for the government entity.

Which federal, state, or local benefits am I eligible for as a parolee?

  • Ukrainian parolees paroled into the U.S. between February 24, 2022, and September 30, 2023, are eligible to apply for main­stream benefits, resettlement assis­tance, and other certain benefits available to refugees until the end of their parole term. Please refer to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) for additional details.
  • You can apply at the state government benefits office or closest resettlement agency in your state. For a state-by-state listing of local resettlement agencies, view the ORR state program directory.

Can I travel outside of the U.S. and come back?

  • If you depart the U.S. without any prior advance authorization to travel, the parole will be automatically terminated.
  • You are eligible to apply for an Advance Parole Document by filing a Form I-131, Application for Travel Document with the required fee or a fee waiver. An Advance Parole Document will permit you to appear at a port of entry to seek parole into the U.S. when you return from a trip abroad.
  • Please note that issuance of an Advance Parole Document does not guarantee that you will be paroled back into the United States. A separate discretionary decision on a request for parole will be made by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) when you arrive at the port of entry.

Can I move to a different address or state?

If you have any additional questions or need help with the Uniting for Ukraine process, do not hesitate to contact our office at (312) 427-6163 or schedule a consultation online.

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