Documents

Apply for these documents once you have settled in the U.S.


Social Security Card and Number (SSN)

Every resident in the U.S. has a Social Security Number (SSN). This number is used by various U.S. authorities and financial institutions to track your wages, earnings and credit history. An SSN is given to you for lifetime. Apply for an SSN for each member of your family, even newborn children.

There are two ways to apply for an SSN:

  1. In the Social Security Administration (faster). Fill out an application for Social Security Card and bring it to your nearest office of the Social Security Administration along with your passport and form I-94. You will receive your Social Security Card about two weeks after you apply.
  2. Via an application for Employment Authorization (slower). When filling out form I-765, Request for Employment Authorization, check boxes requesting a new Social Security card and consenting to transfer of your information to the Social Security Administration. Once USCIS processes your EAD application, it will pass your request to the the Social Security Administration who will mail you a Social Security card.

Official policy: Enumeration of Ukrainian Arrivals


Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

Ukrainians who arrived under the Uniting for Ukraine program or received humanitarian parole on the U.S. border are work-authorized incident to the parole status. They may show their employer an I-94 form as proof of employment authorization for the first 90 days of employment. During these 90 days, they should apply for an receive an EAD from USCIS.

​Processing times for EAD applications can be several months long. Apply for an EAD as soon as possible.

Applications for EAD are available online or by mail. Online application requires an A-number. If you arrived under Uniting for Ukraine, your A-number (Alien Number) is printed on your Travel Authorization. If you arrived via Mexican border, you do not have an A-number and must apply by mail.

To apply for an EAD:

  1. Create a USCIS Online Account if you do not have one and want to apply online. Each applicant, even minor children, must have their own online account in order to apply for an EAD online.
  2. Fill out form I-765, a work permit application, for each member of the family who needs an EAD. To apply online, from your online account, go to My Account or Account Actions menu and choose File a Form Online. To apply on paper, download a PDF from the I-765 page and fill it out on the computer or by hand.
    • If you are applying under the humanitarian parole status, including the Uniting for Ukraine program, pick Eligibility Category (c)(11) Ukraine Parole (box 27 on paper form). If you are applying under TPS, pick category (a)(12). For other immigration categories, refer to the chart.
    • If you are applying for another family member, indicate yourself as Preparer. You MUST list yourself as Preparer if you are filling out the form for a child under the age 14: children under the age of 14 are not allowed to file USCIS forms on their own.
    • Check option to receive a Social Security Card (boxes 14 and 15 on paper form), even if you previously received an SSN and card without work authorization. You will keep the same SSN but will receive an new card that authorizes you to work. 
    • Your immigration status at your last arrival (box 24 on paper form) is “UHP” if you arrived under Uniting for Ukraine, “DT” if you arrived via Mexico, and “B2” if you arrived on a tourist visa.
    • Your current immigration status (box 25 on paper form) is “UHP” if you arrived under Uniting for Ukraine, “DT” if you arrived via Mexico and “TPS” if you have been approved for TPS.
  3. Attach the following documents:
    • passport-type photo (2 copies, if applying via mail);
    • a copy of your I-94 (front and back, if you have a white paper card from the border). If you did not receive an I-94 at the border, print it from website https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/recent-search;
    • a copy of the first page of your passport with the photograph. If you are applying for a child who is glued into your passport, attach that insert with the child’s photo;
    • if you are applying for a child under the age of 14, the child’s birth certificate with a certified translation;  
  4. If you are applying under the Uniting for Ukraine or humanitarian parole status, the application is free. If you are applying under the TPS status, the application is free for children under 14 and seniors over 65 years old, and costs $410 for everyone else. You can apply for fee waiver via form I-912 if you cannot afford the filing fee. For more details, see Temporary Protected Status.
  5. If filing by mail, mail the documents to USCIS at the address appropriate for your immigration category.

When USCIS receives your application, it will mail you a Receipt Notice. If you have filed the form online, you will typically receive a Receipt notice in the Documents section of your USCIS case within minutes of filing. If you filed the form by mail, you will receive Receipt Notice by mail within 2-4 weeks of filing. If you have not received a Receipt Notice within a month of submitting your application, call USCIS to make sure your application was received.

Video with instructions for filling out form I-765:

 If you have moved since you filed any applications with USCIS, change your address via form AR-11 – Change of Address or your USCIS online account! Include the receipt number for any pending cases with USCIS with your address change request. Otherwise USCIS will mail all correspondence and documents to your old address!

Driver’s License

Driver’s License is a primary identification document in the U.S. Apart from showing your permission to drive, it is commonly used whenever someone needs to verify your name or age. If you do not drive, instead of a driver’s license, you can obtain an identification (ID) card for identification purposes.

Different states have different laws about how long you can drive with a foreign driver’s license. For example, in California, if you are a visitor, you can drive with a foreign license for the duration of your visit, but if you are planning on becoming a resident (i.e. live in California), you must apply for a California driver’s license within 10 days

Even if you are not required to do so by law, having a U.S. driver’s license has advantages:

  • It’s a more familiar form of identification for Americans than your foreign passport;
  • You will likely qualify for lower rates of liability insurance (which is mandatory) with a U.S. driver’s license than with a foreign driver’s license.

If you apply for a U.S. driver’s license, you will have to pass a vision and possibly medical screening, a knowledge test (theoretical part), and a behind-the-wheel test (practical part).

Visit your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website to find out how to apply for a driver’s license or ID.

Ukrainians arriving in the U.S. on humanitarian parole, including the Uniting for Ukraine program, are not eligible for Real ID. Nevertheless, many states allow you to receive a regular state driver’s license.

You can obtain a Real ID if you are in approved TPS status.

To obtain a driver’s license in California:

  1. If you are applying for a driver’s license – prepare for your exam! Study Driver’s Handbook and take practice tests. DMV has handbooks in different languages, including Russian.
  2. Fill out an online application. Print out the email with your Confirmation Number.
  3. Pick the closest DMV location and make an appointment if available. If you come without an appointment, arrive early, before opening hours, to avoid the line. You can also take the knowledge test online.
  4. Prepare your
    • passport;
    • I-94; 
    • Social Security Number;
    • a document proving your CA residency (rental agreement, utility bill in your name, letter from the landlord – see full list of acceptable documents);
    • your Confirmation Number; and
    • license fee: $41 for a driver’s license, or $35 for an ID.
  5. At the DMV, your fingerprints and photo will be taken. If you are applying for a driver’s license, be prepared to submit to the vision exam and take the written knowledge test at the DMV, if you haven’t passed it online.
  6. Sign up for and pass the behind-the-wheel test (for a driver’s license). In California, you take the behind-the-wheel test in your own car with an officer who sits as a passenger and scores your performance. You must be accompanied to the behind-the-wheel test by a person with a valid California driver’s license.
If you don’t know how to drive, you can go to a driving school or ask your friends or family to teach you. In California, people over 18 years old are not required to take driver’s education classes.