U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has announced that U.S. diplomats will return Ukraine and said that the Embassy in Kyiv would probably reopen within weeks. For now, visa services are unavailable in Ukraine, and the State Department has further clarified visa options and alternatives for Ukrainian nationals.

Key Points:

  • The State Department is encouraging Ukrainian nationals to refer to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Uniting for Ukraine program that provides a pathway for displaced Ukrainian nationals and their immediate family members who are outside the U.S. to come to the U.S. and stay temporarily for up to two years.
  • Nonimmigrant visas are not an appropriate tool to begin an immigrant, refugee or resettlement process. Consular officers will refuse applications for those who apply for a nonimmigrant visa and do not demonstrate intent to leave the U.S. after a defined period to return to a residence abroad.
  • Immigrant visas are for foreign nationals who intend to live and work permanently in the U.S. The U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt, Germany, is the designated processing post for Ukrainian immigrant visa applications. Newly scheduled immigrant visa cases will be slated for appointments at the consulate in Frankfurt. Transfers may be requested by contacting the receiving U.S. Embassy or Consulate’s Immigrant Visa Unit.
  • Ukrainians should not attempt to apply for visas to travel to the U.S. as refugees; instead, they should contact local authorities or United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) for refugee processing. More information from UNHCR is available here.

Additional Information: The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine has been closed since February due to Russia’s military action and invasion. More information regarding the State Department’s guidance for Ukrainian nationals, including information on COVID-19 entry requirements, humanitarian parole, adoptions and refugee status, among other topics, is available here.

BAL Analysis: The situation in Ukraine may change with little or no notice and companies with employees in the country are encouraged to follow State Department information and warnings closely.

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

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