August 10, 2022

Willkie cross-border team from Frankfurt, New York and Palo Alto helped a Ukrainian evacuee join her daughter in Virginia.

Willkie recently obtained humanitarian parole for an 86-year-old Ukrainian evacuee and helped her join her daughter at home in Virginia. A cross border Willkie team with attorneys from Frankfurt, New York and Palo Alto worked together to bring Mrs. K to the U.S. after Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine forced her from her home in Kharkiv in March 2022.

Her daughter, Ms. R, a U.S. citizen, reached out to Willkie for assistance in getting Mrs. K, who had been evacuated to Poland, to live with her in Virginia. The cross-border Willkie team determined that the best and fastest solution was to apply for a nonimmigrant B2 Visitor’s Visa seeking a temporary stay in the U.S. for the maximum period of six months. The Willkie Frankfurt team then arranged for Mrs. K, who only speaks Ukrainian and Russian, to be transported from Poland to Germany, where visitor’s visas were being granted more readily, and to be taken in by a Russian-speaking host family near Frankfurt.

However, just before Mrs. K was to leave for Germany, she contracted Covid-19 and had to be hospitalized for several days, ultimately losing her hearing. After she was well enough to make the journey, the Willkie team submitted her B-2 Visa application with the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt in early April, seeking the assistance of Senator Tim Kaine from Virginia to check on the status of the visa application. The team also worked with Mrs. K’s host family to secure health benefits and financial assistance through the German social services system.

In late April, the U.S. provided a new path for Ukrainians to come to the U.S. under the Uniting for Ukraine program, which provides temporary humanitarian parole for an initial period of two years. Although the visa application was still pending – an interview had been scheduled for July 15 – Willkie filed for humanitarian parole in the hope of expediting Mrs. K’s arrival to Virginia.

On June 22, Ms. R was notified that the application for temporary parole under the Uniting for Ukraine program was approved. The Willkie team withdrew the visa request and helped Ms. R, who had gone to Frankfurt to be with her mother, return to Virginia with Mrs. K.

Ms. R is overjoyed that her mother is now safe with her at home. Mrs. K could not be happier to be staying with family and is extremely grateful for all the strangers, including the Willkie lawyers, who helped her along the way.

The Willkie team consisted of pro bono counsel Stacey Kushlefsky and associate Victoria Sheets from the New York office, associate Wendy Cheung from the Palo Alto office, and partner Wolfram Prusko and associates Stefanie Lechler and Martin Reichert from Willkie’s Frankfurt office.