Finding a Sponsor
How to find a sponsor for yourself, your family, or a broader group.
Many people in need of refuge don't know an eligible person in the U.S. to sponsor them. If you are one of them, please read on for how to connect with potential sponsors safely and securely.
Due to the scale of the displacement crisis, unfortunately there are many more people in need of safety than there are sponsors to assist them. Welcome.US is working to close this gap by educating Americans about sponsorship and encouraging them to support newcomers like you.
If you are from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, Ukraine, or Venezuela, you may be able to use the Welcome Connect platform to connect with an American sponsor. Learn more below.
Not from one of the countries listed above? The Welcome Corps allows Americans to sponsor people who meet the definition of refugee under U.S. law.
What is Welcome Connect?
Welcome Connect is an online platform where potential sponsors in the U.S. and people seeking sponsors can connect and get to know each other. Then they decide together if sponsorship is a good fit and begin the application process with the U.S government.
The Welcome Connect registration page for people seeking sponsors opens up on the 3rd Tuesday of each month—June 20 is the next date for the immediate future. Learn more below.
- If you are in Nicaragua, registration will open at 9 a.m. (Central Standard Time)
- If you are in Haiti or Cuba, registration will open at 11 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time)
- If you are in Venezuela, registration will open at 11 a.m. (Atlantic Standard Time)
- If you are in Ukraine, registration will open at 6 p.m. (Eastern European Time)
How do you register on Welcome Connect?
Watch these guides to registering on Welcome Connect:
Again, the Welcome Connect registration page will open for beneficiary sign-ups on the 3rd Tuesday of each month—June 20 is the next date for the immediate future.
Registration will open at 3 pm Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which means:
- If you are in Nicaragua, registration will open at 9 am (Central Standard Time)
- If you are in Haiti or Cuba, registration will open at 11 am (Eastern Standard Time)
- If you are in Venezuela, registration will open at 11 am (Atlantic Standard Time)
- If you are in Ukraine, registration will open at 6 pm (Eastern European Time)
What if you're unable to sign up during the registration period?
If you were not able to register this month, we encourage you to try again next month. But we also want to be transparent about the challenges.
To work effectively and safely, the Welcome Connect platform must have balance between those who want to sponsor and those who are seeking a sponsor. To keep that balance, we have to limit the number of newcomer registrations on the platform—so many people who are attempting to sign up during the registration period won't be able to do so.
As we recruit more Americans to sponsor, we will be able to accept more registrations from people who are anxiously awaiting an opportunity to connect.
Is there a fee for signing up on Welcome Connect?
Welcome Connect is a free platform—there is no fee associated with registering or using the Welcome Connect platform, nor is there a fee to file the humanitarian parole application (Form I-134A) with USCIS.
Welcome.US will never ask you to pay to access the platform as either a sponsor or beneficiary or grant anyone preferential access based on a fee.
Do not pay money to anyone who claims they can help you find a sponsor on Welcome Connect for a fee.
What are some safety tips for navigating conversations with sponsors?
To protect yourself and your family, keep these safety tips in mind during this process.
A sponsor should never:
- Require money or a fee for filing the Uniting for Ukraine application or for any other purposes related to your sponsorship.
- Note that you may have to pay for some parts of your travel to the U.S., such as flights costs, but you should not pay any such fees directly to your sponsor.
- Require that the person they are sponsoring work for them, paid or unpaid.
- Require that the person they are sponsoring do favors for them, including sexual.
- Take away travel documents or means of communication.
- Limit travel. People who enter the U.S. as part of the USCIS humanitarian sponsorship programs are free to travel anywhere in the United States, and you are not required to stay in the city/town where your sponsor lives.
If you experience any of these things when you arrive in the US:
- Tell someone immediately: Tell someone who can reach emergency services on your behalf what you are experiencing.
- Call 911 on any phone: This is the emergency number in the United States. You will talk to an emergency dispatcher, who can help you reach safety immediately.
- Additional Emergency Resources:
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
If you or someone you know is forced, tricked, or blackmailed, into working or trading sex in exchange for sponsorship or something else of change value (food, shelter, money), help is available. Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
What happens after you find a sponsor?
Once you’ve found a sponsor, you’ll need to complete the following steps:
Step 1: Complete Form I-134A
Your sponsor will complete the form online, but you will need to provide them with information about yourself.
Step 2: Create your online myUSCIS account
If Form I-134A is approved, you will receive an email from USCIS to create an online myUSCIS account.
Step 3: Confirm the required information
On your myUSCIS, you will need to confirm your biographical information and fulfill all requirements, such as attestation to the required immunizations.
Step 4: Check for your Travel Authorization
You will be notified on your myUSCIS account if approved.
Step 5: The most immediate needs you likely will need to work on with your sponsor are:
- Housing Arrangement: Ensure that temporary housing has been settled on before you plan your travel coordination.
- Travel Coordination: Note that each member of your family must have travel authorization in order to arrive in the U.S.
- Employment Authorization: Your approved Form I-134A will suffice as work authorization, but only for 90 days after approval so you will need to complete Form I-765 for long-term authorization.
See more information the USCIS website.
Your next steps toward finding a sponsor
Register on Welcome Connect
If you're from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, Ukraine, or Venezuela, register on the Welcome Connect platform during the designated periods.Go to Welcome Connect