Legal Pathways For Ukrainians Already In The US

On February 24, 2022, Russia declared an invasion of Ukraine, leading many leaders worldwide to welcome Ukrainians into their countries. The United States has several options available for Ukrainians who currently live in the United States and want to avoid returning to Ukraine. They include

  • Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”);
  • Asylum;
  • Petitions for eligible relatives; and
  • Visa extensions.

Temporary Protected Status

The United States Department of Homeland Security has the authority to grant TPS to any county. These reasons include political unrest, like war or similar violent conflicts. Fewer than ten days after the Russian invasion, the United States Department of Homeland Security granted Temporary Protected Status, or “TPS,” to many Ukrainians who fled Ukraine for the United States. The TPS registration period for Ukraine started on April 19, 2022, and continues through October 19, 2023. To qualify for TPS, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Continuously resided in the United States since April 11, 2022;
  • Apply during the registration period of April 19, 2022-October 19, 2023;

If you are granted TPS, you receive several protections, including employment authorization, and you cannot be deported.

For assistance in applying for TPS, please call The Justice Firm locally at (310) 914-2444 or Toll-Free at (866) 695-6714.


Seeking asylum in the United States offers many of the same protections as TPS, but the process and purpose are different. People from all over the world seek asylum in the United States because they have been persecuted or fear persecution by their home countries. Persecution can be for many reasons, including:

  • Race;
  • Religion;
  • Nationality;
  • Membership in a specific social group; or
  • Political opinion.

If you want to apply for asylum, you must file an I-589 Form within one year of your arrival in the United States. If you bring a spouse and child with you, they can be included in the application. Like TPS, asylum will prevent you and your family from being deported, and you will be authorized to work in the United States.

Petitions For Eligible Relatives

There are a couple of options available for Ukrainians living outside the United States. One of these options involves a family member already living in the United States helping a Ukrainian family member immigrate to the United States.

If you are interested in helping a Ukrainian family member move to California or the United States generally, you will be responsible for much of the planning. You must be either a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident to qualify. Your family member must be an eligible relative who wants to permanently live in the United States and get a Permanent Resident Card, also known as a “Green Card.” Determining who is an eligible relative depends on whether you are a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.

Assuming your family member qualifies as an eligible relative, you must file an I-130 Form called a Petition for Alien Relative.

Extend Your Visa

If you are in the United States on a student or work visa, you can apply to extend your stay in the United States. For either visa, you will need to file Form I-539 and provide evidence of your reasons for extending your visa. You can be eligible to remain in the United States if you have:

  • Your current visa is valid;
  • Nonimmigrant visa status is active;
  • Avoided criminal activity that impacts eligibility;
  • Not violated conditions of your stay; and
  • A valid passport.

Extending your visa can be a creative solution to avoiding returning to conflict areas in Ukraine.

Hiring A California Immigration Attorney

If you have questions or are ready to apply for any of the options discussed, please contact The Justice Firm locally at (310) 914-2444 or our Toll-Free number at (866) 695-6714, or visit us on our website. Our immigration attorneys serve clients in Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange, Ventura, and San Bernadino counties.

Learn more about immigration law.

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