US | USCIS Applies Refugee Employment Authorization to Ukrainian and Afghan Parolees

From November 21, 2022, Ukrainian and Afghan parolees and their qualifying family members with certain classes of admission do not need to wait for USCIS to approve their Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to begin working in the United States.

Eligible Ukrainian and Afghan parolees and their relatives will be considered employment-authorized incident to parole.

This updated policy guidance applies to the following individuals if their parole has not been terminated:

  • Afghan parolees whose unexpired Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, contains a class of admission of “OAR.”
  • Ukrainian parolees whose unexpired Form I-94 contains a class of admission of “UHP”; and
  • Ukrainian parolees whose unexpired Form I-94 contains a class of admission of “DT” issued between February 24, 2022, and September 30, 2023, and indicates Ukraine as the country of citizenship on the document.

The processing change follows Congress’s recent legislation that states certain Afghan and Ukrainian parolees “…shall be eligible for resettlement assistance, entitlement programs, and other benefits available to refugees admitted under section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1157)….” Under DHS regulations, refugees are employment-authorized incident to status, and under current USCIS practice, refugees are not charged fees for their initial Form I-765.

USCIS is providing the benefits of employment authorization accorded to refugees and a no-fee initial (and replacement of an initial) EAD to Afghan and Ukrainian parolees so that they receive the same treatment as refugees.

What to Know
  • For these parolees, their unexpired Form I-94 is an acceptable receipt to present to their employer to show their identity and employment authorization for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.
  • The receipt satisfies the Form I-9 requirement for 90 days from the date of hire (or, in the case of reverification, the date employment authorization expires). After 90 days, parolees must present an EAD or unrestricted Social Security card and an acceptable List B identity document from the Form I-9 Lists of Acceptable Documents.
  • Ukrainian and Afghan parolees must still file Form I-765 to receive a physical EAD.
  • Individuals who received a Form I-94 when they entered the United States should visit U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Form I-94 page to view and print a copy of their Form I-94.
  • Individuals without a passport can use their A-Number to retrieve their Form I-94 online at the site above by choosing “Get Most Recent I-94.”
Key Dates
  • Effective November 21, 2022, USCIS will exempt the filing fee for Form I-765 for Ukrainian parolees filing for an EAD by mail. Afghan parolees under OAW are already exempt from the fee for an initial paper-filed Form I-765 (and a replacement EAD) through September 30, 2023.
  • Effective December 5, 2022, USCIS will process fee exemptions for online filings of Form I-765 for eligible Ukrainian and Afghan parolees.
Erickson Insights

Erickson Immigration Group will continue to share updates as more news is available. If you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or case-specific questions, please contact your employer or EIG attorney.