This blog post centralizes information and resources for arriving Ukrainians, for people who are sponsoring Ukrainians, and for residents and service providers that are helping people that have arrived.
On April 21, 2022, President Biden announced Uniting for Ukraine, a new streamlined process to provide Ukrainian citizens who have fled Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression opportunities to come to the United States. This represents a key step toward fulfilling the President’s commitment to welcome Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Uniting for Ukraine provides a pathway for Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members who are outside the United States to come to the United States and stay temporarily in a two-year period of parole. Ukrainians participating in Uniting for Ukraine must have a supporter in the United States who agrees to provide them with financial support for the duration of their stay in the United States.
For more information on Uniting for Ukraine, see the DHS webpage.
In Philadelphia, we know our diversity is our strength. We are a proud welcoming city that celebrates its vibrant immigrant community and we stand ready to welcome Ukrainians and other displaced people fleeing the conflict.
Our state is home to the second-largest Ukrainian community in the United States and the Greater Philadelphia region is home to many strong Ukrainian businesses, nonprofits, churches, and other cultural, educational, and economic institutions. Understanding that most immigrant communities migrate to areas with established similar communities with supports and infrastructure to receive them, the Greater Philadelphia region is preparing to welcome a high number of Ukrainians. Our best estimate is that at least 10,000 Ukrainian newcomers will be coming into the Philadelphia region through 2022. As of July 17, 2022, there have been 3,772 sponsors in the Philadelphia region applying to welcome Ukrainians as part of the Uniting for Ukraine program.
Below please find helpful information for newcomers in Philadelphia and those helping them navigate our city.
Helpful Information for Newcomers
- Philadelphia Department of Public Health
- Arriving Ukrainians are required to comply with specific healthcare requirements for vaccination and testing.
- To find ongoing healthcare services please visit our city health centers.
- Social Security Administration
- The Philadelphia Social Security Administration office is located in the Two Penn Center at 1500 John F. Kennedy Boulevard #2000A.
- Helpful information before going to the SSA office can be found on their website.
- Accessing Public Benefits
- If you were granted humanitarian parole you may be eligible for public benefits. Learn more about the benefits for Ukrainian Humanitarian Parolees.
- In Philadelphia, you can get assistance applying for public benefits by going to a BenePhilly location. Find your nearest location by checking this website or calling 844 -848-4376
- Additional information on immigrant eligibility for public benefits can be found at Community Legal Services
- Immigration Legal Services
- The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website can provide helpful information about various immigration statuses and pathways to contact them if you have questions about a pending application or case. They also have a toll-free number 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833) and their hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern.
- Ukrainians paroled into the United States can learn more about Uniting for Ukraine and humanitarian parole from USCIS.
- Ukrainian students and visitors stranded in the United States may be eligible for Temporary Protected Status. The secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent its nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. Ukrainians eligible for TPS status must have been in the United States since April 11, 2022.
- For free or low-cost immigration legal services help, please contact any of these listed organizations for assistance. If they are unable to serve you immediately, leave a message and they will get back to you. Oftentimes, these organizations can also refer you to additional legal services options depending on your needs.
- English Language classes
- In Philadelphia, myPLACE is a resource for adults wanting to learn English or be connected with other education classes. There are ten locations across the City that help adults connect to programs at 35 provider partner agencies, earn high school diplomas, and get ready for the workplace.
Philadelphia Has a Number of Programs to Support Children and Their Families
- The Office of Children and Families oversees many programs supporting all Philadelphia residents, regardless of English language skills.
- Learn about sports and children’s activities, community gardens, public spaces, playgrounds, and more through Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.
- The Free Library of Philadelphia has a regional network of free libraries with books, programs, and activities for adults, teens, and children to enjoy.
- PHL Pre-K offers free, quality pre-K at over 180 centers throughout Philadelphia. All children who are 3 or 4 by September 1, 2022, are eligible for this early education and childcare program. There are no income requirements for participation in this program. To sign up for PHLpreK, call (844) PHL-PREK or visit our programs page to find a current PHLpreK provider and sign up.
- All children in Philadelphia ages 5 and up are expected to be in school. Learn more about how to register your child for school by visiting the School District of Philadelphia website.
Accessing City and State Resources
As a Welcoming City, Philadelphia strives to ensure that all immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers can access city services regardless of language and immigration status. Learn more about various city services in English, Ukrainian or Russian. You can also learn more about city services by calling 3-1-1 the city’s Philly311 contact center.
The City of Philadelphia is committed to your safety. If you or someone you know is feeling unsafe in their relationship or in their new home please call (866) 723-3014 for the free and confidential Philadelphia domestic violence hotline. Additional resources for people experiencing domestic violence or abuse can be found through the Office of Domestic Violence Strategies resource page.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania also has helpful information and resources to help Ukrainians outside of Philadelphia or in need of additional information.
Additional Community Resources
In the Philadelphia region, there are 4 refugee resettlement agencies – Nationalities Services Center, HIAS Pennsylvania, Bethany Cristian Services, and Catholic Social Services. Each agency is available to support newly arrived Ukrainians with specialized services such as resource navigation, access to healthcare, legal assistance, and employment services. The Philadelphia region also has a thriving Ukrainian Education and Cultural Center in Jenkintown, PA.
How You Can Help
Here are some ways Philadelphia residents can help Ukrainians.
- Donate to any organization in this list of trusted Ukrainian organizations and initiatives. You can also donate to any of the 4 refugee resettlement agencies in our region – Nationalities Services Center, HIAS Pennsylvania, Bethany Cristian Services, and Catholic Social Services.
- You can advocate for Ukrainians using these helpful resources from HIAS PA.
- You can Become a Welcomer by learning how to be a supportive Sponsor. Welcome.US provides helpful information for those supporting Ukrainians including this local resource guide.
If there are additional resources not listed here that would be helpful, please email OIA@phila.gov and the Office of Immigrant Affairs can look into adding the additional information. Please allow 2 to 3 business days for a response.