We are excited to share a major legal update about employment by Ukrainians prior to receiving work permits! Today, USCIS announced a major update on employment authorization for Ukrainian humanitarian parolees. Please see the full announcement at the bottom of this post.

Starting November 21, Ukrainian parolees and their qualifying family members do not need to wait for USCIS to approve their Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization before they can work in the United States. Ukrainians who have an unexpired Form I-94 with a class of admission of either “UHP” (“Ukrainian Humanitarian Parolee” admitted through Uniting for Ukraine) or “DT” (parolee who was granted parole at a port of entry or District Office) may use their Form I-94 as an acceptable receipt that may presented to their employer to show their identity and employment authorization for the purposes of Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification. The I-94 receipt satisfies the Form I-9 requirement for 90 days from the date of hire. Note that for Ukrainians admitted under class “DT,” the I-94 must have been issued between Feb. 24 2022 and Sept. 30, 2023 and indicate Ukraine as the country of citizenship on the document.

Ukrainian parolees must still file a Form I-765 to receive a physical Employment Authorization Document (EAD). After the 90-day period, parolees must present an EAD or unrestricted Social Security card and acceptable List B identity document from the Form I-9 Lists of Acceptable Documents.

Individuals who received their Form I-94 at the time of their parole into the United States should visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Form I-94 website to view and print a copy of their Form I-94.

Effective Nov. 21, 2022, USCIS is also exempting the fee to file an initial Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization by mail for Ukrainians paroled into the United States who meet the above eligibility requirements. To apply for employment authorization as a Uniting for Ukraine parolee, you must submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, using the (c)(11) category code. You do not need to pay a filing fee for your initial EAD if your mailed Form I-765 is postmarked on or after Nov. 21, 2022. To obtain the fee exemption when mailing an initial paper application for an Employment Authorization Document, enter the following information on Form I-765:

  • Select “Initial permission to accept employment” (Part 1, Item 1.a.) ;
  • Enter “Ukraine” in:
    • Country of Citizenship (Part 2, Items 18.a. and 18.b.), and/or
    • Country of Birth (Part 2, Item 19.c.);
  • Enter “C11” in the Eligibility Category (Part 2, Item 27.); and
  • Submit no payment.

Beginning Dec. 5, 2022, you may file your fee exempt Form I-765 online. For the fee exemption to apply, Form I-765 must be submitted online on or after Dec. 5, 2022. To obtain the fee exemption when filing an initial application for an Employment Authorization Document online, enter the following information on Form I-765 online:

  • In the basis of eligibility section, provide your “eligibility category”;
  • For the category under which you are applying, select “c(11) Ukraine Parole” from the drop-down;
  • Select your reason for applying as “Initial permission to accept employment”; and
  • Review and submit application to receive $0 fee.

Please note that your initial EAD is only valid as long as your parole period is valid. Any subsequent employment conducted after the expiration of your parole will need to be permitted under a new status or approved status extension. Subsequent Applications for Employment Authorization (after the initial application) may require the payment of a fee.

For more information on applying for Employment Authorization and other benefits, please visit the USCIS web page on Uniting for Ukraine.

Please reach out to the Ukraine Immigration Task Force for questions about this and other immigration topics.

Full Announcement from USCIS:

Congress has recently passed laws relating to certain Afghan and Ukrainian parolees that have included language providing that parolees covered by the legislation “…shall be eligible for resettlement assistance, entitlement programs, and other benefits available to refugees admitted under section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1157)….” Under DHS regulations, refugees are authorized employment incident to status, and under current USCIS policy and practice, refugees are not charged a fee by USCIS for their initial Form I-765, Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Parolees, however, are not employment authorized incident to status, and must pay a fee (currently $410) for their EAD, unless the fee is waived or exempted.

To implement the statutory language “other benefits available to refugees” in the context of section 2502(b), P.L. No. 117-43 (Afghan parolees) and section 401 of Public Law 117-128 (Ukrainian parolees), USCIS is providing the benefits of employment authorization incident to status normally accorded to refugees and a no-fee initial (and replacement of an initial) EAD to Afghan and Ukrainian parolees so that they receive the same treatment as refugees.

Effective Nov. 21, 2022, Ukrainian and Afghan parolees, and their qualifying family members, with certain classes of admission are considered employment authorized incident to parole, which means that they do not need to wait for USCIS to approve their Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, before they can work in the United States. This updated policy guidance applies to the following individuals, if their parole has not been terminated:

  • Afghan parolees whose unexpired Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, contains a class of admission of “OAR.” If you are an Afghan parolee covered under section 2502(b), P.L. No. 117-43 who did not receive an “OAR” class of admission on your Form I-94, please email U.S. Customs and Border Protection at [email protected] to update your class of admission, if appropriate;
  • Ukrainian parolees whose unexpired Form I-94 contains a class of admission of “UHP”; and
  • Ukrainian parolees whose unexpired Form I-94 contains a class of admission of “DT” issued between Feb. 24, 2022, and Sept. 30, 2023, and indicates Ukraine as the country of citizenship on the document.

For these parolees, their unexpired Form I-94 is an acceptable receipt they may present to their employer to show their identity and employment authorization for for the purposes of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The receipt satisfies the Form I-9 requirement for 90 days from the date of hire (or in the case of reverification, the date employment authorization expires). Individuals who received a Form I-94 when they entered the United States should visit U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Form I-94 page to view and print a copy of their Form I-94. If you do not have a passport, you can use your A-Number to retrieve your Form I-94 online at the site above by choosing “Get Most Recent I-94.” Enter your A-Number in the Document Number field and enter your country of citizenship or “USA” in the Country of Citizenship field.

After the 90-day period, parolees must present an EAD or unrestricted Social Security card and acceptable List B identity document from the Form I-9 Lists of Acceptable Documents (such as a state-issued driver’s license or identification card). Ukrainian and Afghan parolees must still file a Form I-765 to receive a physical EAD. USCIS will provide additional guidance for employers about completion of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

Effective Nov. 21, 2022, USCIS is also exempting the fee to file Form I-765 for Ukrainian parolees filing for an EAD by mail. Afghan parolees under OAW are already exempt from the fee for an initial paper-filed Form I-765 (and a replacement EAD) through Sept. 30, 2023.

Effective Dec. 5, 2022, USCIS will be able to process fee exemptions for online filings of Form I-765 for eligible Ukrainian and Afghan parolees. We encourage use of online filing for more efficient processing.

See our Uniting for Ukraine and Information for Afghan Nationals pages for more information about submitting Form I-765. See our File Online page for more information about creating an account and filing online.