Sponsorship for Ukraine FAQ's

How do I start the sponsoring process?

You can find all the info you need as well as the online application for the Uniting for Ukraine program on the www.uscis.gov.  You create an account and then fill out the i-134 form which is a 13-page online application. You will need all the information about the person(s) that you are sponsoring—their city and region of birth, birth date, mother’s maiden name, financial situation, passport number, phone number, email address, the address where they are living, and more. It’s a good idea to gather this info before you begin the application for a smoother process. We can help with that.

What info will they ask me to be approved to be a sponsor?

Your personal information, a letter from your employer with specific questions answered (i.e., date of hire, annual salary, whether the position is permanent or temporary, etc.), a letter from your bank stating three things (date the account was opened, current balance, and the total amount of deposits in the last 12 months), and your last year’s tax return.  More information is asked, but you aren’t required to provide anything more financially (home value, equity, 401k, any other assets, etc.).  

How long does it take to be approved to be a sponsor?

Some of our sponsors have been approved in as little as 2 days. The process can go very quickly. Be sure to fill out everything properly to avoid delays. Those that take longer are due to incorrect information (passport number, name spelling, etc.).

After you are approved, what is the next step?

USCIS sends an email to the Ukrainian person you are sponsoring (the “beneficiary”) with a link and instructions for creating an account on the USCIS site. Then they will answer questions for their application on their end. It is 100% in English and, even if their English is excellent, we highly recommend that they have a translator there to help with the process. One option is to fill out the application for them while they are on FaceTime with you. 

How long does it take for the Ukrainian beneficiary to be approved?

Some of our beneficiaries were approved within 24 hours but it can take a few days.

Can I sponsor a Ukrainian with a group of people?

Yes! Your experience can be strengthened by working together with a group — friends, family, work colleagues, congregation members or other networks available to you. In this case, a sponsor should file an I-134 and include supplemental evidence of the identity and resources of the partnering sponsors and attach a statement explaining the intent to share responsibility to support the beneficiary. These sponsors’ ability to support a beneficiary will be assessed collectively. There are many reasons to sponsor as part of a group — it makes the work easier, lightens the financial burden, can be deeply rewarding, and helps the arriving family to meet more people in the community. With a group effort, you can share in the joy and responsibilities of helping newcomers thrive in their new communities.

How long are the Ukrainian beneficiaries able to stay in the USA on this program?

Currently, it is only for 2 years. Hopefully things will change.

Will the beneficiary be able to work?

Yes, eventually. Current forecasts are 4-8 months to be approved for a work permit in the USA. They are hoping things will be streamlined for the Ukrainian people. One of our sponsors/beneficiaries met with an immigration attorney to fill out the form to apply for a work permit soon after she arrived. They will then get a letter with an appointment for biometrics- part of the application/permit process.

Can they drive?

Their Ukrainian driver’s license is good in the USA for a short time. Depending on the state, it is typically good for 3 months and up to 6 months.  As far as getting a US driver’s license, recently things have changed with this. As of now, the beneficiaries are unable to receive a US driver’s license. According to an immigration attorney, it could change once they receive their work permit.

Can the beneficiary receive assistance from the government?

Yes, they can receive short-term (4-6 months) assistance in the USA for food, housing allowance, and health insurance. A single person gets approximately $250 per month for food, whereas a family can receive much more. They can receive assistance with rent if certain requirements are met. Both are short term. Beneficiaries also qualify for Medicaid, as they are not working.

Are there other agencies that help with the Ukrainian beneficiaries?

Yes, in most states there are certified agencies that have programs to help Ukraine. For example, in Utah there are two certified options. Once you use one, you can’t switch to the other. One of our sponsors/beneficiaries used Catholic Community Services (CCS). They helped tremendously in several ways:

 

    1. filling out the application for a social security card
    2. qualifying for food stamps
    3. qualifying for Medicaid
    4. provided an extensive health screening
    5. provided a free monthly bus pass
    6. provided $200 in monthly spending money (for 4-6 months)
    7. provided a pass to a warehouse where a parole can go once per month for four months to collect and gather things they may need for free, including clothing and other necessities. 
    8. provided a free immigration attorney (that can help with things like filling out a work permit)
    9. provided a Chromebook
    10. people dedicated to helping you find work, once a permit is given
    11. people that can help you find school or courses to take, if desired
    12. provides an English assessment test. It ranks their English level and then they provide them free online or in-person English classes to attend to improve their English.

Can the beneficiary receive a social security card?

Yes, they can. It will initially be marked that it is ineligible for employment but, once the work permit is granted, they go in and get another card with that wording removed.

Can a beneficiary get a bank account?

Yes, the day they get their social security card, they can open their own bank account. 

Can the beneficiary travel during the 2 years they are in the US?

Beneficiaries are only able to travel within the United States. If they leave, they are unable to return.  

Do the beneficiaries have to be COVID vaccinated?

Yes, they must be fully vaccinated (two doses of a recognized vaccine). They must have at least their first dose of the vaccine and agree to receive the second within 90 days of arriving in the US.

Do the beneficiaries have to have an international passport?

Yes. They must have a valid, international (biometric) passport. There is often confusion on this as Ukraine issues an internal passport (their equivalent of our driver’s license). 

If you are sponsoring more than one person, do you need to fill out a I-134 form for each person?

Yes. Even if they are members of the same family, they will each need their own USCIS account. You will begin by applying for one of the parents and then you will receive instructions to attach the family member(s) to that person and to you. FYI: sometimes the children’s last names are one letter different than their parent’s last name, so pay attention to that when filling out the I-134 forms.

If my beneficiary were to break the law, am I responsible?

No. They will have to suffer the consequences of the law, which may include being deported. But you are not responsible, including being sued by someone else.

Testimonials

“Sponsoring Alexandra has been a rich and rewarding experience—more than I could have imagined. Our lives have changed and we have been blessed. We love her so much. She calls me mom and my husband dad. She fits in with our kids and helps them. She is truly a part of our family. She wants to keep busy and wants to perfect her already excellent English. She wants to work desperately, and is looking forward to that. She wants a car and wants to drive. She would LOVE to stay in the USA for a loooong time—much longer than the 2 years that this program provides. We want her to achieve all of her dreams and more—and we will help her to do so.” - Lori Gifford, Utah

“Sponsoring our sweet lady from Ukraine is one of the most life changing experiences we have ever had. Every day is a day of teaching, learning, laughing, and, many times, crying. Mostly crying over the fact that my eyes have been opened to the blessings I have that I have taken for granted- being safe when I go to bed at night, knowing I’m going to be able to eat today, the freedom to choose who I want to be and how I am going to get there. Each Sunday I am grateful I have the freedom to worship the Lord without fear of retribution. I’m grateful for the awareness that WE ARE ALL descendants of refugees. Our family came here hoping for a better life! How can we not do the same for another? I never thought the person who would be experiencing so much growth and gratitude would be Me! Our lives are blessed by having Natasha as part of our family. We love her!   ❤~Sandi Schureman, Arizona

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