The purpose of this page is to help explain steps to take after your Ukrainian newcomers have arrived in the United States.
IMPORTANT: Information is always changing, please verify all details with Inspiritus (state representative) and immigration (USCIS).
- STATE BENEFITS
- Do this IMMEDIATELY to start getting cash/food/etc. The Federal forms will take longer.
- You MUST work with our state representative in Alabama for the latest forms and instructions. (More about Inspiritus)
- Forms, and the processes for forms, are different for families with children vs. families without children
- In general, these benefits could include:
- Health Insurance (Medicaid)
- Food Assistance (SNAP)
- Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA)
- Temporary Assistance (TANF)
- FEDERAL FORMS (USCIS/IMMIGRATION)
- To file for free, you must include a Fee Waiver (or pay $499). The Fee Waiver does not allow online form submissions. Everything below must be printed and mailed. If you find otherwise, please contact us to update this page.
- Mail to the USCIS Dallas Lockbox: (double check address here)
U.S. Postal Service (USPS):
P.O. Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266-0867
FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:
Attn: NFB (Box 660867)
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
Lewisville, TX 75067-8003
- Temporary Protected Status (TPS): Federal Goverjment (USCIS/Immigration)
We chose to submit this AFTER the work authorization was approved, but it looks like you can submit this and request a work authorization at the same time. At this time, we are not sure if the TPS form will help our newcomers – but we are submitting in case it will help extend their stay in USA beyond 2-years or provide other benefits.
- After submitting the forms above – you will receive a letter in the mail for a Biometrics appointment at a local USCIS branch. (in our experience, it takes 3-5 weeks to receive this letter. The Biometrics appointment itself took only 5-10 minutes and had no wait)
- After the Biometrics appointment – you will receive a letter in the mail with your approval for Work Authorization (about 1-3 weeks after appointment).
- Then, you will receive another letter in the mail with your Work Authorization ID card. (another 1-2 weeks)
- Finally, you will receive a third letter in the mail with your SSN card (another 3-5 weeks)
- TUBERCULOSIS SCREENING
- What is Tuberculosis (TB) and why is screening required?
- Within 90 days of arriving to the USA, newcomers must be screened for Tuberculosis (TB).
- Go to a local health clinic to have this done free, we do not recommend paying out of pocket.
- OPTIONAL FORMS & SERVICES
The following items are completely optional – they are resources that we found and can provide additional help/assistance. Click here to see our complete list of resources.
- English as a Second Language (ESL)
One of the most important tasks to complete, as soon as your newcomers arrive, is to enroll them in a class to learn English. There are MANY free programs available – see our Resources page. After attending some of these classes, we opted to hire a private tutor to expedite learning. We supplemented this with the free ESL course at UAB.
- Regions Bank: Checking & Savings Account
You can do this immediately, you do NOT need to wait for an SSN, but you must have proof of address (for example, an acceptance letter for Medicaid). We opted to go with Regions in Vestavia Hills because Tatsiana, an employee, speaks Russian. NOTE: There are fees for the checking account, but you can avoid them if you are under 24, enable direct deposit for at least $500/month, or use the physical card 10 times a month.
- YMCA: Fitness/Gym Membership (3-Months FREE)
To help get your newcomers out of the house and active, contact your local YMCA and mention the Helping Hands program. This should provide the with 3-months free!
- Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
Apply here AFTER you get approved for Medicaid (or Food Assistance) to get free cell phones, cell phone service, and discounted home internet. Once approved, see the list of all providers for service & products. (including many common/popular companies like AT&T)
- Extra: Credit Builder
This requires an SSN to setup.
To help your newcomer build credit, without an actual credit card, you can sign up for services like this. We like Extra because it connects to the existing bank account and does not require a separate account. We created a bank account for EACH newcomer and connected this service so that ALL newcomers would begin building positive credit.
- Driver’s License
AFTER you get the SSN, you can get a Driver’s License. See our page for more information.
- English as a Second Language (ESL)