The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced an automatic parole extension for some Ukrainian nationals and their immediate family members. In addition, the DHS might grant employment authorization to Ukrainian citizens and their extended families who underwent parole before Uniting for Ukraine took effect.
The DHS will consider any Ukrainian national paroled into the United States at a port of entry from February 24 to April 25, 2022, for a one-year parole extension. This timeline should align with the two-year parole received under Uniting for Ukraine. As such, anyone within this timeframe will find applying for a parole extension unnecessary.
If a national receives extended parole, the DHS will place an updated Form I-94 online for them to access. This form will extend the individual’s parole period from its current expiration date without a gap. Therefore, individuals with extended parole should download their updated Form I-94 as evidence of their extended parole. In addition, they can download this form on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.
Individuals who receive extended parole will also become eligible for employment authorization for another year. Individuals with Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) from parole and who received an extension will receive Form I-797C from the USCIS. Upon receiving it, they can use it to prove their continued employment authorization during their extended parole period.
Individuals with EADs based on parole granted between February 24 and April 25, 2022, do not have to apply for this benefit. Instead, they will receive Form I-797C in the mail at the address on file. As such, individuals should ensure the USCIS has their current address on file.
The DHS has estimated that it will take about four weeks to consider and investigate all Ukrainian nationals who received parole before Uniting for Ukraine went into effect. Therefore, Ukrainian nationals in this group should regularly check their online Form I-94 for updates. If the form has not updated by early April, they should contact [email protected].
Additionally, individuals with valid IDs based on their parole who have not received Form I-797C by the end of April should contact [email protected]. Otherwise, individuals who want an EAD based on their parole can file an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) with the USCIS. First-time Ukrainian parolee applicants are exempt from fees.
Employers who hire Ukrainian nationals must complete the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9). However, filling out the form has proven complicated due to the many documents workers may use to verify their authorization and identity. Therefore, the easiest solution to ensure consistently completed forms is using an electronic I-9 management system. This system will guide employers through the entire I-9 process, safely and securely storing documents and sending important alerts.