This website has everything you need to know about filing an I-134 for an Ukrainian family, through the American Service in Ukraine.
No cost • No obligation • Life-changing
Prepared by the American Service in Ukraine (About Us)
(Pictured: American Service in Ukraine’s headquarters in Lviv, Ukraine)
To file an I-134, you need to be a taxpaying American citizen (or legal resident) with a stable job or retirement savings.
As you’ll see in the instructions section below, you will need to have proof for each of these three things: that you are in America legally, that you pay taxes, and that you have a job or retirement savings.
About the I-134
If this is your first time encountering the American immigration system, you might be in for a wild ride. Just keep in mind that our system is built by and relies on people like you and me. We as a nation have a complicated history with immigration, and especially responding to refugee crises. The I-134 may just be one of the most peculiar documents in an already peculiar system.
The I-134 is an unique humanitarian immigration form. Although it is nicknamed an “Affidavit of Support” and “Declaration of Financial Support,”according to the State Department, the I-134 “is not legally binding.” Source: 9 FAM 302.8-2(B)(3)(g)(3)(a)
The I-134 is made and collected by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a branch of the federal government.
It proves to the federal government that the “beneficiary” — for example: an Ukrainian fleeing Russia’s invasion — will have the means to support themselves if they are allowed to come to America. The federal government understandably doesn’t want a bunch of vulnerable people crossing the ocean only to find themselves in poverty.
This form is absolutely necessary for the US government to even consider an Ukrainian family for humanitarian immigration.
The American Service in Ukraine saw a major contradiction in this system.
On one side, we had Americans who genuinely wanted to help Ukrainian families fleeing the war, but didn’t have the means to provide for an entire family.
But more frustratingly, the Ukrainian families didn’t need, want, or expect that sort of help.
We work exclusively with families who have their finances firmly in order. After nearly a year of war, most families have been able to stabilize their finances, whether that is through work, savings, or selling assets. These families also have one or more income earners who, in the American Service’s judgement after prolonged interactions and multiple interviews, would be well suited to well-paying jobs upon arrival.
More than that, the American Service has funding of its own dedicated to supporting our families. Most recently, we received a $250,000 grant from the Shapiro Foundation for this work.
And, to top it off, there is a strong network of local, state, and federal refugee support services — including financial assistance — in many parts of the United States. This is especially true in the state of Minnesota, where the American Service focuses most of its resettlement work. We are experts at navigating these networks, and getting our families any help they need, whether it be housing, food, medical, educational, employment-related, and everything else.
We not only have a system, we have a system that works and is working. ASIU has already resettled nearly a dozen households, and is on track to settle over a hundred by the end of this winter.
Guarantee to Filers
The American Service in Ukraine, as a registered 501(c)(3), guarantees to you, the filer of the I-134, that you cannot and will not be held liable for any support to the Ukrainian beneficiaries you file for through our organization. We are making a full legally-binding commitment to you. You bear no risk. We would not make this commitment lightly, and have consulted with our legal experts before making this commitment.
We additionally make a legal agreement between ourselves and the Ukrainian beneficiaries whose journeys we facilitate. In that agreement, it is explicitly written that the beneficiary forfeits any option to make requests of support directly to you, and instead must request it from us, the American Service in Ukraine.
Step #1 (of 3) — GATHER YOUR THREE PIECES OF EVIDENCE
1. Evidence of citizenship (or legal residence).
This could be a copy/scan of any ONE of the following:
• the bio page of your US passport
• your US birth certificate
• your naturalization certificate
• a valid US visa, if you are a non-US citizen.
2. Evidence of financial stability.
This could be a copy/scan of any ONE of the following:
• your job offer letter for your current job that confirms your job title, start date, and salary
• a simple statement from your supervisor that confirms your job title, start date, and salary
• proof of financial assets, such as stock holdings, savings accounts, etc.
3. Evidence you pay taxes.
This should be a copy of your most recent IRS tax return.
Step #2 (of 3) — CONTACT US FOR BIODATA
We collect all the biographic information you will need to file for an Ukrainian family. We even format the information so that it matches the flow of the I-134 online form.
Simply send an email to
to receive verified biodata.
Step #3 (of 3) — FILE THE I-134 ONLINE
NOTE: In the biodata email, we also include detailed filing instructions, all relevant links, and a step-by-step instructional video.
To file online you:
• create an USCIS account
• file a new I-134 for each Ukrainian you are filing for, including children.
The form only takes about 10-15 minutes to file for each person. The form is online and completely free.
AND THAT’S ALL!
Simply tell us after you submitted the forms — we’ll take it from here.
After you file, here’s what happens:
1. The US government reaches out to the family you filed for, via email.
2. The family and the US government interact, and the US government vets them.
3. The US government clears the family to come to America.
4. Our organization, the American Service in Ukraine, puts our resettlement plan into action and helps the family with travel, arrival, housing, job prep, and everything else they need to be successful in America.
We have monthly dinners where we welcome our new families, and connect them to the community of Ukrainian refugees we have built in Minnesota. We will be sure to invite you!
“I think anyone with the means to do so should consider filing an I-134. I didn’t know anything about the process, but I did know that I wanted to help, and this was an attainable way to do so. All it took was gathering some paperwork (honestly I think the hardest part of the whole thing was getting my boss to write a letter of employment) and then filling out the I-134 out, each of which took about 10 minutes max. I’ve heard that many of the people who I sponsored are already well into their lives in America and it’s unbelievable that such a simple act could be so instrumental in helping families move across the world in search of safety and security.”
— Larry S.
30, Software Dev
New York, NY
“The I-134 form is by far the most impactful piece of paperwork I’ve ever filled out–and it takes less than an hour from start to finish. With just a bit of effort on the computer, I was able to open the pathway to several Ukrainian families and individuals hoping to build new futures in the United States. Now, they’re on pathways to independence and already thriving; in no time, they’ll be in school, new jobs, and supporting themselves and family back home in Ukraine. It’s not often that something so simple (and free!) can make such an impact. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”
— Rachel B.
Saint Paul, MN
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is this form even necessary?
We ask ourselves that all the time. The I-134 is indeed a strange document — crucial but not binding, intensely serious but requiring little evidence — and we think our government will eventually do better. But that won’t happen soon enough, and we’ll do what it takes until it does.
Will I have to financially support a family?
Absolutely not. Our system doesn’t rely on your financial support. We would happily accept a donation, but you are not required in any way shape or form to provide financial support to our beneficiary families.
Where does the Ukrainian family get their financial support?
Through three main channels: through themselves, through our organization, and through various levels of government programs.
Our families are vetted for their financial stability and earning power upon arrival in the United States. We do not encourage or facilitate any families to make the journey if there is a reasonable risk they will find themselves financially overwhelmed. (These families we tend to redirect toward our partners in Poland and throughout the European Union.)
We have our own funds to support in their journey, namely a generous $250,000 grant from the Shapiro Foundation.
Lastly, the state of Minnesota, where we do our resettlement work, has a strong network of city, county, state, and federal resources to cover every part of the new family’s resettlement process. Navigating these resources can be daunting — thankfully we’ve become experts at it, and are getting better by the day.
How can I be sure this won’t negatively affect me?
We provide you with a legally binding guarantee, written out above.
Should a family displaced by Russia’s war really make the journey all the way here? Wouldn’t it be better for them if they stay in Europe?
This is a legitimate question. Based on our policy of transparency, we talk openly with interested families about what they want, and what their journeys will realistically look like. For families that are ill-suited for the American route — whether due to financial instability, extraneous medical needs, lack of any knowledge in English, or the like — we work with partners in the European Union to find a better route. We breathe a sigh of relief when a family makes a realistic decision for themselves.
For our American path, we end up working exclusively with families who are already well-suited for their journey in America, and are willing to be well-trained to increase their odds of success. These families usually have at least one member who is proficient in English, and usually two adults of working age who are eager to gain employment. (We assess the latter by assessing folks’ commitment to things such as the English classes we provide, and their responsiveness and diligence in paperwork.)
To be sure, there are massive benefits for us Americans when qualified Ukrainians come to join our communities. Any contribution we as a community make to help these families resettle usually pays itself back many, many times over through tax earnings and economic activity. Not to mention that, in states like Minnesota with an extremely tight labor pool and public schools in need of students, our families of newcomers provide the core need of any healthy society: people who work hard and who care.
And finally, it should be said with pride in our own country: Slava Ukraini. Our friends are fighting for the same principles of freedom and democracy on which every American has built their lives, and we should extend the welcome to the families who, ultimately, want to build their own lives so they can rebuild their country.
About the American Service in Ukraine
The American Service in Ukraine is a bi-national NGO dedicated to helping Ukrainian families displaced by the barbaric Russian invasion.
Our focus is on helping displaced families resettle in Western Europe and the United States. We specialize in the Biden administration’s Uniting for Ukraine program and resettle our US-bound families in Minnesota — a state with a rich history of welcoming refugees and immigrants, plentiful job opportunities, and strong refugee support systems.
We ensure that the families we work with are well-suited and well-trained for their journey in America. We believe in self-sufficiency as the ideal, and that the best way to get there is through transparency, encouragement, and truly listening to our families. We also believe in learning from our mistakes and applauding our achievements — this is hard work, and it can’t be done without kindness, towards others and ourselves.
We are registered as a 501(c)(3) in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and as a foreign NGO with the Ukrainian government in Lviv, Ukraine. Prior to obtaining our 501(c)(3) status, we were fiscally sponsored by Alight. We have received substantial funding from the Shapiro Foundation and the Minneapolis Foundation. Our Ukrainian staff members are paid on salary. Our American staff members do not take payment.
Contact us via email at email@example.com
At a recent meeting in western Ukraine, from left to right, Aswar in Minnesota, Sofiia in Poland, and Misha in Ukraine are the core team members of the American Service in Ukraine.