Moving to USNewsApr 15, 2024

Moving to America: US Visa for Ukrainian Citizens

Since the armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia started, many Ukrainian citizens have left the country to avoid the brutality of modern warfare. Recent estimates claim that between 10 and 15 million Ukrainians were forced to flee their homes and settle in other countries as war refugees. One of those countries where many Ukrainian citizens have left is the United States. 

In this article, we’ll discuss how to get a visa to move to the US as a Ukrainian, what types of Visas are available to Ukrainian nationals, and the main requirements for submitting an application.

We’ll also share information about the US government’s new program, Uniting for Ukraine (U4U), which allows Ukrainians to get a special U4U Green Card.

Let’s start.

Can Ukraine Citizen Travel to USA Now?

The answer is yes, but the road to get there will depend on where Ukrainians are traveling from. To make it easier to understand, we’ve split the full answer to this question into two distinct categories.

moving to america from ukraine in a few easy steps

Can Ukraine Citizen Travel to USA Now? Traveling from Ukraine

At the time of writing this article (April 2024), not everybody is allowed to leave Ukraine. The restrictions are mostly related to the current war effort. As of the latest information, men between 18 and 60 are not allowed to leave the country. 

We have to mention that there are certain exceptions to this rule, but the above will generally apply to the majority of people. For example, male students between the ages of 18 and 22 can leave the country to study abroad. 

Additionally, direct flights from Ukraine to the USA are restricted due to closed airspace. But when the airspace was open, the prices for a one-way ticket from Ukraine to the US ranged between $400 and $1000. 

Can Ukraine Citizen Travel to USA Now?: Traveling from other Countries

The current situation in Ukraine has led to many native Ukrainians leaving to neighbouring countries (Poland, Hungary, Romania, etc) as a first resort until things calm down or until they find a more permanent solution. 

One potential permanent solution is moving to the land of opportunity and the home of the American dream, the United States of America. But to get there, they will need to apply for a visa. Because they are war refugees, Ukrainians who fled their country after the conflict started are eligible to apply for a special U4U green card, which we’ll discuss below.  

Because Ukraine’s airspace is restricted, it’s difficult to get a direct flight to the US from there. That’s why many Ukrainian refugees looking to fly to the US first try to get to one of the neighbouring countries, for example, Poland. To fly from Poland to the US, a one-way ticket can cost as little as $180. 

US Visa for Ukrainian Citizens

Any type of travel from Ukraine to the US requires a Visa. This includes both non-immigration (i.e. tourist visits) and immigration-type travel. Because of the current circumstances in Ukraine, the US has opened up an additional channel for Ukrainian citizens to get a US visa. 

In the following part of the article, we’ll discuss the special program for Ukrainians who want to get a US visa as well as the regular one. 

Special U4U Green Card 

The US has started a unique Uniting for Ukraine (U4U) program to help them and make relocating easier. This program allows Ukrainian citizens to get a U4U Green Card in a simplified way. Once they get this Visa, Ukrainians are granted an opportunity to live and work in the US for two years.

U4U Green Card for Ukrainian Citizens: Main Requirements 

Here are the main requirements for U4U Green Card

  • You have lived on the territory of Ukraine as of February 11 2022, or have left the country after that period because of the war
  • You have a valid Ukrainian passport
  • Have a US-based sponsor willing to take on the financial responsibility for the move. This sponsor doesn’t have to be related to the person applying for a U4U Green Card. To find a Visa sponsor in the US, you can visit this online platform dedicated to helping Americans welcome Ukrainian refugees
  • Have received vaccinations for COVID-19, polio and measles.
  • Have undergone and passed a full security check (biometric, biographical, etc.)
  • Have the US-based sponsor complete the Form I-134 on behalf of the Ukrainian citizen applying for U4U Green Card

It’s important to mention here that absolute priority is given to families with children. If you don’t have a family or kids, this doesn’t mean you won’t get accepted; it just means that you’ll probably have to wait longer than if the opposite was true. 

In addition to this special Visa program for Ukrainians, the US government also provides certain financial benefits and support to Ukrainian nationals who move to the US. Now, let’s briefly discuss those.

US Social and Financial Benefits for Ukrainian Citizens

The Office of Refugee Resettlement in the US provides various social support benefits to Ukrainian refugees. They include:

Currently, in the US, there are also various financial support programs for Ukrainian citizens. They include:

  • Monetary payments from the US government to Ukrainian refugees
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

The amount of financial support can vary depending on factors such as age, the number of family members arriving in the US with you, and more.

Just note here, that even though the US government does provide financial assistance, the process of getting it does take time, which is why it’s advisable to have some money before making a trip to the States. To goal is to be able to cover the expenses for the first couple of months or until you’re able to get your bearings and find a job. Depending on which place or state in the US you choose to go to, the average cost of living can vary between $2,500 and $4,000 per month. 

Regular US Visas for Ukrainian Citizens

Besides the U4U green card, Ukrainians can also apply for other types of US visas. Here are some of the most common types of US visas for Ukrainian nationals:

US Work Visas for Ukrainians 

  • H-1B Visa — This Visa allows Ukrainian citizens to legally reside and work in the United States for a period of one year. It can be extended to allow Ukrainians to stay in the US for up to three years.
  • L-1 Visa: This Visa enables intracompany transfer and allows Ukrainians to move to the States to work in the US branch of a business where they’re employed.

US Travel Visas for Ukrainian Citizens

  • B-1 Visa — Allows Ukranian nationals to visit the US to do business. The B-1 Visa is popularly known as a business visa. 
  • B-2 Visa — This regular tourist visa was expanded to include people who need medical care or help (due to the military situation in Ukraine). 

Just note that the rejection rate when applying for travel visas as a Ukrainian national was around 41% before 2022. Since the conflict in Ukraine started, the percentage of rejected applications has lowered, but there is no publicly available information that shows how much exactly the number has changed. 

US Student Visas for Ukrainian Citizens

  • F-1 Visa — A type of US visa that allows Ukrainians to temporarily move to the US and study there. Depending on the academic program, the F-1 visa can last between 3 and 6 years. We should also note that with an F-1 visa, Ukrainians can legally purchase a house in the US, which is a good option for those who want to stay in the US after their studies are done and their Visa expires.
  • J-1 Visa — This is an Exchange Visa for Ukrainians who signed up and got accepted into an academic exchange program between US and Ukraine.  

Regular U.S. Visa for Ukrainian Citizens: Main Requirements 

The most common requirements to apply for and get a U.S. Visa for Ukrainian Citizens are as follows:

  • A valid passport 
  • A filled-out Visa application form (in most cases, that form will be the DS-160)
  • A visa application fee (depending on the type of Visa, the Visa application fee for Ukrainians in Kyiv can be between $185 and $205)
  • Two passport-size photos
  • Additional documents based on the type of Visa (proof of employment, work or educational qualifications, medical or financial documents, etc.)
  • A police clearance document (in some cases)

Ukrainian Communities in the US

The latest estimates from 2021 put the number of Ukrainian-born US residents at around 400,000. Since the beginning of 2022 and the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the US has committed to accepting 100,000 Ukrainian war refugees

If you are one of those refugees, you should be glad to know that there are many Ukrainian communities in the US, with the most popular being located in the following states:

  • Pennsylvania 
  • North Dakota
  • New York
  • Washington 
  • California

Meet NRI, an Agency That Helps Ukrainians Buy US Real Estate 

If you’re Ukrainian and looking to move to the US, getting your own house in the States can help you settle there more easily and give you some peace of mind during these difficult times. Being a foreigner in a new country is never easy; having a place to call home is extremely important. 

NRI is a full-cycle agency that helps foreign nationals, including Ukrainians, get mortgage loans to finance properties in the States. As part of our services, we introduce our clients to US real estate agents with extensive international experience. We also help clients apply for and get a US mortgage loan and deal with US tax obligations. 

If you’re moving from Ukraine to the US and need help finding and financing your new house, NRI is the best place to start. Book a free consultation to learn more.

Founder & CEO
Luka Malkovich is a serial entrepreneur with years of experience in international real estate investing. As the CEO of Nonresident Investor, Luka’s mission is to educate foreign nationals about the US real estate market and help them secure funding and buy property in America. That’s why he’s using his expertise to turn the NRI blog into a knowledge hub for anyone interested in learning about US real estate. This article was written by a professional content writer in conjunction with Luka Malkovich. Luka has thoroughly reviewed this article and has given his final approval before publishing.

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