Certain Afghan and Ukrainian parolees are now authorized to work in the United States incident to their parole. This updated guidance specifically applies to Afghan parolees whose unexpired Form I-94 indicates a class of admission of “PAR” and lists Afghanistan as their country of citizenship, as long as their parole has not been terminated. Additionally, these parolees are exempt from paying fees when applying for an initial Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or replacing an initial EAD.
This policy is rooted in the belief that Afghan and Ukrainian parolees should receive similar treatment to refugees, in accordance with the legislation stating that parolees covered by the law should be eligible for benefits available to refugees admitted under section 207 of the Immigration National Act (8 U.S.C. 1157).
USCIS Announcement Regarding Afghan & Ukrainian Parolees
On November 21, 2022, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that certain Afghan and Ukrainian parolees would be granted employment authorization incident to their parole. The USCIS also waived the filing fee for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, for Ukrainian parolees applying for an EAD by mail. Afghan parolees were already exempt from the fee for an initial paper-filed Form I-765 (and a replacement EAD) until September 30, 2023.
Eligibility Criteria for Employment Authorization
The updated guidance clarifies that the parolees considered employment authorized incident to parole include the following:
- Afghan parolees whose unexpired Form I-94 indicates a class of admission of “OAR” or “PAR” and lists Afghanistan as their country of citizenship. If you are an eligible Afghan parolee paroled into the United States on or after July 31, 2021, and did not receive an “OAR” or “PAR” class of admission on your Form I-94, you can email U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at email@example.com to update your class of admission if necessary.
- Ukrainian parolees whose unexpired Form I-94 indicates a class of admission of “UHP.”
- Ukrainian parolees whose unexpired Form I-94 indicates a class of admission of “DT” issued between February 24, 2022, and September 30, 2023, and lists Ukraine as their country of citizenship.
For these parolees, their unexpired Form I-94 serves as an acceptable receipt to present to employers as proof of identity and employment authorization for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. This satisfies the Form I-9 requirement for up to 90 days from the date of hire or, in the case of reverification, until the employment authorization expires. Individuals who received a Form I-94 upon entering the United States can visit CBP’s Form I-94 page to view and print a copy of their Form I-94. If you do not have a passport, you can retrieve your Form I-94 online by entering your A-Number in the Document Number field and your country of citizenship or “USA” in the Country of Citizenship field.
After 90 days or when the Form I-94 expires, parolees must present an unexpired EAD or unrestricted Social Security card, along with an acceptable List B identity document from the Form I-9 Lists of Acceptable Documents (such as a state-issued driver’s license or identification card). Ukrainian and Afghan parolees must file Form I-765 to receive a physical EAD. USCIS will provide additional guidance to employers on completing Form I-9.
It is important to note that under Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations, refugees are authorized employment incident to their status. Currently, USCIS does not charge refugees a fee for their initial Form I-765 or for replacing an initial EAD. However, parolees are not automatically authorized to work incident to their parole and must pay a fee (currently $410) to request an EAD unless the fee is waived or exempted.
Seek Professional Guidance
If you are someone seeking employment authorization or have questions about your immigration status, we encourage you to contact our experienced team at Lightman Law Firm.