Refugee help in the US

This page has helpful information and resources for those who are in or trying to get to the US.

If you need help in Europe, please refer to UNHCR in Europe, or at https://infohelpua.com/.
If you are looking for information about donations and volunteer opportunities, please visit our Donation and Volunteering FAQ page.

Please see our refugee portal for latest information

GENERAL REFUGEE HELP

I lost contact with my loved ones and need help locating them.

In case you lose contact with your loved ones, you can contact the Red Cross Search Service of Ukraine at the numbers below:

Kyiv 096 304 4375, 066 250 9957
Lviv 095 250 1274
Kharkiv 099 206 5493
Dnipro 095 250 1181
Kramatorsk 095 250 1229

Kyiv 096 304 4375, 066 250 9957
Lviv 095 250 1274
Kharkiv 099 206 5493
Dnipro 095 250 1181
Kramatorsk 095 250 1229

UKRAINIANS ON THEIR WAY TO THE USA

I don’t have an international passport

Expired international passports have been extended by 6 months.: https://ua.usembassy.gov/visas/nonimmigrant-visas/passport-requirements/.

Ukrainian Consulate might start issuing international passports soon. Updates to follow.

ATTENTION: “white passport” issued to Ukrainian refugees in Europe does not allow travel outside the country where they are obtained.

I don’t have a US visa

If you have an open petition to reunite with a relative in the US, they can speed up the process here: https://pl.usembassy.gov/visas/humanitarian-assistance-and-visa-information-for-ukrainians/

if you don’t have any family-related immigration status, a tourist visa is available. A friend with US citizenship may speed up your visa application by writing a letter to the consulate. Consulates are, however, currently overwhelmed with such letters and applications.

If you have a valid US visa but the passport that it was issued to is lost or destroyed, you may fill out this form and attach it to your application for a new visa: https://ua.usembassy.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/151/Lost-and-Stolen-VISA-form.pdf

Can I become a refugee in the US?

The US doesn’t grant refugee status to people feeling a country with active warfare due to the war itself.

To obtain refugee status and seek asylum in the US, you must prove that you are suffering persecution due to race, religion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group or political opinion: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-and-asylum/asylum

If you are eligible for refugee status, the application for asylum should be submitted at the US border or on US territory. Unfortunately, the acceptance of application and refugee status is not always guaranteed.

I have a visa and a ticket to USA, what else do I need
  1. Vaccination against Covid-19 (have your proof of vaccination and make sure that it indicates fully vaccinated, see link below for guidance).
  2. Covid test must be taken one day before your flight to the USA: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/proof-of-vaccination.html
Can I travel to US with my pets

The USA temporarily prohibits bringing dogs from several countries, including Ukraine, but CDC is working on obtaining permission for Ukrainians: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/bring-pet-into-the-united-states/pet-travel-dogs-into-us

Cats don’t have any restrictions at the federal level, however, you must check the rules of the specific airline before your travel: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/bring-pet-into-the-united-states/pet-travel-cats-into-us

Are there free education courses or free language courses available?

https://www.languagevirtual.org/ is offering free English courses online for students aged 7-16.

Kiron Open Higher Education is available for free to refugees no matter where you are in the world. https://kiron.ngo/

You can take courses in things like:

  • English
  • German
  • Web Design
  • Software Development
  • Data Science
  • And more

As we hear about more educational opportunities for Ukrainians outside of the US we will post them here.

UKRAINIANS IN THE USA

I’m currently in the US, but my visa or status is about to expire. Can I extend my stay?

The US provides 18-months Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukraine nationals that have resided in the US since 1 March 2022.

You will be able to apply for Temporary Protected Status once the directive with instructions is published. The date is not announced yet, but we hope it will happen soon.

This status allows Ukrainians who pass a background check to stay and work in the US.

Ukrainians legally residing in the US can request a status extension, by explaining why they cannot return to Ukraine via I-539 form.

What aid can I receive in the US if I have TPS status but no job yet?

Unfortunately, the US government does not provide assistance to those with Temporary Protected Status, but you can reach out to the following private and community organizations.

How can Nova Ukraine help me in the US?

We collect your information and provide updates on available aid in the US.

At the moment, we don’t have facilities for humanitarian aid supplies in the US.

We advise all donors who reach out to us to forward their aid to churches and other charities.

How do I look for a job in the US?

If you’re looking for an office job, you can register on the US job search websites:

Temporary job sites:

Remote jobs and roles for Ukrainians:
Where can I purchase health insurance?

Regulations and income thresholds vary by state.

If you applied for the Temporary Protected Status, you are eligible to purchase insurance on the marketplace. Depending on your income, you might be eligible for subsidies.
If you have no income or your income is lower than what qualifies you for the marketplace, you are eligible to receive Medicaid and Child Health Plus A programs. Talk to an insurance agent or google about how to apply for these programs in your state. If you are currently on a travel visa, you might have to apply for travel insurance since you are not considered a resident of the US yet. Unfortunately, some travel insurance companies are not available to people located outside of their country of residence.

What if I don’t have health insurance or it doesn’t cover my preexisting condition? Where can I get affordable healthcare?
  • You can reach out to local student-run clinics that operate under a medical school. However, waitlists could be long. Some examples:
    • Nadezhda Clinic in Sacramento, CA
    • Arbor clinic and Pacific clinic by Stanford in Palo Alto, CA
  • Federally Qualified Health Centers – such clinics offer free or discounted rates based on income regardless of immigration status. For example, Elica Health Centers in Sacramento offer primary care visits at $25 to tourists and anyone else below the 100% federal poverty level. Fees go up to $75 per visit based on income. They offer a $30 Lab fee (regardless of the number of tests). This program also works for dental care. There are various programs that provide full coverage for children, cervical and breast cancer screening (including treatment if required), prostate cancer treatment program, and pregnancy coverage. Programs are different in every state. California has all the programs mentioned above.
  • Free clinic – Many cities subsidize simple medical care for their residents, regardless of their status. Search on Google Maps for locations.
  • Urgent Care – if you have a minor injury or need a simple prescription, a visit for Urgent Care often costs about $50, compared to a $1000-2000 bill from an Emergency Room visit. 
How do I find free or inexpensive English classes?

Online, refugees can benefit from free English and German language courses, as well as courses in:

  • Design
  • Software Development
  • Data Science
  • And more

For more information, visit https://kiron.ngo/.

In the US, new immigrants and refugees can benefit from free or inexpensive ESL classes (English as a Second Language). These are typically offered by local public libraries, local community colleges, or non-profit organizations. Public libraries can otherwise be a good starting point to search for an ESL class. You can find out about specific conditions and information on the websites of these organizations or by contacting them directly.

Below are the links to the public libraries of some major US cities:

Below are the links to some of the community colleges across the US that offer free English classes:

Some other organizations that offer free or inexpensive classes are as follows:

Are there free education courses available?

Kiron Open Higher Education is available for free to refugees no matter where you are in the world. https://kiron.ngo/

You can take courses in things like:

  • English
  • German
  • Web Design
  • Software Development
  • Data Science
  • And more

As we hear about more educational opportunities for Ukrainians inside of the US we will post them here.

What options do Ukrainians seeking hospice care in the US have?

The best hospices to start would be the nonprofit ones. As they are not for profit, they tend to provide services at low cost or even for free.
A useful list of hospice facilities around the country is given here.
For example, in San Francisco Bay Area there are the following hospices:
Hospice East Bay
Hospice By the Bay
Hope Hospice
Mission Hospice