The U.S. State Department shared additional information to further clarify visa options and outline alternatives to visas for Ukrainians affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

  • Nonimmigrant visas. The State Department clarified that nonimmigrant applicants must be able “to demonstrate intent to leave the United States after a defined period in order to return to a residence abroad” to be issued a nonimmigrant visa (NIV), and that NIVs are “not the appropriate tool to begin an immigrant, refugee, or resettlement process.”
  • Immigrant visas. The State Department clarified scheduling of appointments and transferring of cases, requesting expedited processing, as well as local filing options. The full guidance is available here. Individuals who filed a Form I-130 petition with USCIS and have yet to receive approval can request U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to expedite the adjudication of the petition. USCIS considers all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis and may require additional documentation if it approves the request. More information on how to make an expedite request is available here.
  • COVID-19 travel procedures. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have exempted certain nonimmigrant travelers from Ukraine from COVID-19 testing and vaccination requirements for entering the U.S. More information is available here.

Additional Information: NIV applications can be processed wherever Ukrainian nationals are physically present and can schedule an appointment. The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed processing times at a number of embassies and consulates. Information about wait times is available here. The State Department has designated the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt, Germany, as the processing post for all Ukrainian immigrant visa applications other than adoption cases. Adoption cases are being handled by the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland.

The full State Department guidance, including information on adoption cases, humanitarian parole, refugee status and local resources for displaced Ukrainians, is available here. The effect of the war in Ukraine on immigration and mobility continues to change. BAL will provide updated information as it becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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