In reply to many inquiries from my clients, this post summarizes all possible current U.S. immigrant and non-immigrant options for Ukrainian nationals.
As you probably know, all consular services in Ukraine remain suspended. Due to airspace closures and lack of availability of commercial flights in the region, Ukrainians seeking to travel to the U.S. may seek consular services at U.S. Embassies in the following neighboring EU countries which can be reached via land border crossings: Poland, Moldova, Hungry, Rumania, Slovakia. As of the date of this post, most border crossings into Poland and all main crossing points into Moldova are severely backed up and some are experiencing extremely long wait times (well over 30 hours in per some reports). Travelers may want to consider redirecting to border crossings with Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia, which are currently experiencing lower wait times to cross. Please see the updated information about Ukraine Land Border Crossing below.
First about Immigrant Visa Applications & Fiancé Visas:
- Ukrainian spouse or unmarried child under 21 of a Unites States Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident of the U.S. seeking to travel to the US on an immigrant visa.
- If your I-130 petition is already pending with USCIS you can request expedited processing of the I-130 petition pending with USCIS as instructed here: https://www.uscis.gov/forms/filing-guidance/how-to-make-an-expedite-request
- If you have an approved I-130 pending at the NVC, the designated post is now Frankfurt, Germany. You can submit a request to expedite through the NVC Contact Form: and/or by submitting an email to the following email address: ImmigrantVisasWarsaw@state.gov.
U.S. Embassy in Germany’s page provides the following information:
If you or your relative has fled from the armed conflict in Ukraine and is looking for United States visa service in Germany, please contact U.S. Consulate General Frankfurt Email: FrankfurtVisaInquiries@state.gov Please use the following subject line: C22 – UKRAINE – FULL NAME. Provide your full name, date and place of birth as it appears on your passport or other travel document, along with the details of your situation, including whether you are the spouse, child, son, daughter, or parent of a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (“green card” holder). Additionally, you may view other, non-visa options at this link: https://www.uscis.gov/forms/explore-my-options/humanitarian-parole We will respond to you as soon as practicable with any guidance we can provide you.
- If you have not yet filed an I-130 petition and wish to do so, you may contact the US Embassy Frankfurt to inquire about a possible local filing.
Local I-130 filings rule applies ONLY to US citizens filing petitions for spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents. If you believe that your situation merits an exception, email FrnUSCISinquiries@state.gov to request an exception and explain your circumstances in detail, along with supporting documents.
Additional information about local I-130 filing please read:
USCIS has delegated authority to the Department of State to accept and adjudicate a Form I-130 filed by a U.S. citizen petitioner for an immediate relative if the petitioner establishes exceptional circumstances. Some examples of exceptional circumstances include:
- Medical emergencies – A petitioner or beneficiary is facing an urgent medical emergency that requires immediate travel.
- Threats to personal safety – A petitioner or beneficiary is facing an imminent threat to personal safety. For example, a petitioner and beneficiary may have been forced to flee their country of residence due to civil strife or natural disaster and are in precarious circumstances in a different country outside of the United States.
- Close to aging out – A beneficiary is within a few months of aging out of eligibility (reaching the age of 21).
If DOS declines to accept a local filing, DOS should inform the petitioner of its decision.
- DOS acceptance of Form I-130s abroad is intended to assist petitioners living abroad who demonstrate exceptional circumstances as described above. It should be noted that if an I-130 is already pending with USCIS, DOS is not authorized to accept the local filing. Instead, the petitioner should request expedited processing of the I-130 petition pending with USCIS.
- For Ukrainian fiancé of a United States Citizen seeking to travel to the U.S. on a K-1 visa with pending I-129F:
- If I-129F petition is still pending with USCIS (e.g. not approved), you can submit a request for expedited processing of the I-129F with USCIS as indicated here:
- Note: Embassies are prohibited from accepted I-129F petitions for local filing; USCIS must first approve the K visa petition.
- For Ukrainian non- immigrant visa applicants who want to travel to the United States with no immediate United States Citizen (“USC”) family members please note the following:
On March 2, Ukrainians were formally added to the State Department’s list of Homeless Nationalities. As such Ukrainian nationals may apply for non-immigrant visas in any country in which they are a resident or physically present. To apply for non- immigrant visa, applicants should file application DS -160 online: https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/ and should check each consular post’s website for visa appointment eligibility and wait times for third-country nationals, as well as the ability to request expedited or emergency appointments.
Please also note that demand is extremely high, availability is low, and wait times and processing times are likely to be very lengthy.
If you have already begun an NIV application/appointment at U.S. Embassy in Ukraine and wish to transfer to Warsaw, Poland, send an email request with supporting documents/information (DS-160 confirmation, name, passport bio, etc.) to Support-Poland@ustraveldocs.com to ask for a transfer of your “profile” to Warsaw.
If you already have an appointment scheduled at U.S. Embassy Warsaw but wish to expedite it, you may request it using the link: https://www.ustraveldocs.com/pl/en/expedited-appointment
- For Ukrainian spouses or children of a USC seeking to travel to the US on a non-immigrant visa:
Please follow the steps described above to apply for non- immigrant visa. If you are unable to schedule an appointment using the methods described above, you may instead try to request a “group appointment” at this link: https://ustraveldocs.com/pl/en/group-appointments
You will suggest a date convenient for you.
Once submitted, wait for an e-mail response from the Embassy, which should permit you to schedule an appointment.
- Note: The group option is available only for a Ukrainian spouse or child of a US citizen seeking to travel on an NIV. Others will be refused.
- You should select “Ukrainian with U.S. citizen immediate family” in Step 3, while scheduling the appointment.
Travel Considerations and Requirements for Ukrainian Nationals Entering Neighboring Countries Across Land Borders:
Currently, until the end of 2022, Ukrainian applicants do not require a visa to enter countries in the European Union (EU), which includes the countries below, as well as Germany. Outside of the EU, members should check each country’s visa/entry requirements for Ukrainian nationals.
- Poland: Border crossings from Ukraine to Poland remain open, although long waits are reported. Poland has suspended COVID-19 related entry and testing requirements. Applicants attempting to cross the border should make every attempt to have identity and other travel documents ready at the time of crossing. For up-to-date information and resources for Ukrainian citizens seeking to enter Poland, please visit the Government of Poland’s website. This website provides the locations of official reception points along: https://www.gov.pl/web/udsc/ukraina-en
The Government of Poland may modify COVID-19 entry regulations or quarantine requirements at any time or may apply different requirements for those entering Poland from Ukraine at the land border. Please visit the Government of Poland’s website for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 entry regulations. The Polish Border Guard can be reached via email email@example.com or by phone at +48 22 500 4068, +48 22 500 4568, or +48 22 500 5468. It should be noted that entry requirements for travelers entering by land may differ from the entry requirements for travelers arriving by plane.
Hungary: Complete information on Hungarian Entry Restrictions:
Slovakia: There are five land border crossing points:
Vysne Nemecke/Uzgorod: Main road boarding crossing – This crossing is located in Uzgorod where H13 crosses into Slovakia from Ukraine. Coordinates – 48° 39′ 12.96″ N, 22° 15′ 57.96″ E
Ubl’a/Malyi Bereznyi: Main road boarding crossing – This crossing is located 3.1km from Malyi Bereznyi where P53 crosses into Slovakia from Ukraine. Coordinates – 48°53’1.57″N, 22°25’14.12″E
Vel’ke Slemence/Mali Selmenci: Bicyclists and pedestrians (as of 25 February 2022, U.S. citizens may use this border crossing).
▪ Cierna nad Tisou/Cop): Passenger trains (no car or pedestrian crossings currently authorized)
▪ Mat’ovske Vojkovce/Pavlovo: Cargo trains (no private crossings currently authorized)
Romania: Information about entry requirements here: https://www.politiadefrontiera.ro/en/main/i-information-regarding-measures-taken-at-ukrainian-border-7913.html
Moldova: Important note: travelers should not enter Moldova through the breakaway region of Transnistria. The main Moldova-Ukraine border crossing south of Transnistria is Palanca – Maiaki Udobnoe. North of Transnistria, the first Moldova-Ukraine border crossing is Otaci – Moghileov-Podolsk. Entry & Exit information: https://md.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/covid-19-information/