If you have to resort to social media to find a supporter, follow these tips to increase your chances:
Americans sympathizing with Ukraine are generally more reliable supporters than Ukrainians or Russians who live in America. Americans are less likely to be scammers. Focus on resources frequented by Americans (English-speaking Facebook groups, message boards, groups relating to your hobby or interest, etc.).Make your Facebook profile public. Potential supporters will want to see Facebook history proving that you are a Ukrainian who lived in Ukraine before the war.Write in English. Although Facebook auto-translates entries in Ukrainian or Russian into English, the translation is often subpar and creates an impression of a language barrier between you and the potential supporter. If your English is bad, find someone who can proofread the entry for you or use a professional translation service.Include one or more photos! People scroll past social media posts that do not have pictures. Include photos reflecting your current dire situation, rather than photos of your vacation from before the war.
Explain in your message:
● What city in Ukraine you are from.
● Where you are now.
● Why you cannot stay in Ukraine or the country you are currently in.
Yes, there is war in Ukraine, but many Americans do not follow it closely and do not understand which regions of Ukraine are dangerous and which are not. They also think Europe and Canada provide more support to refugees and are better choices. You need to convince them that for you, the U.S. is the best option. If you are scared to stay home or struggle in the country you ended up in, don’t be shy to explain it.
● Why you need to come to the U.S.
A family that you want to reunite with that cannot be your supporter. A job offer. Knowledge of English language. Unique medical treatment unavailable in other countries. A business idea that will take America to the next level. Whatever makes it critical for you to be in the U.S. as opposed to any other country – you need to explain it. If you do not have any compelling reason to move to the U.S., think twice whether you need to do it. Life in the U.S. is generally more expensive than in Europe or Canada, with lesser social support and fewer immigration options.
● How you are going to support yourself in the U.S. and what help you need from your supporter.
U.S. is an expensive country with poor social support. Upon arrival, you are expected to find a job quickly, rent your own housing and buy a car (access to public transport is subpar in most cities). The budget to be self-sufficient upon arrival is $10,000-30,000, depending on the state you are moving to and your family size. If you have that amount in savings, your message needs to convey that you have means to support yourself and do not expect financial help from your supporter. If your family is supporting you, mention that. If you have no means to support yourself and need the help of your supporter, state that outright. Many Americans are willing to provide room and board to beneficiaries, but it is important to set the right expectations.
● Your roadmap to self-sufficiency.
You also need to outline a roadmap to how you are going to become self-sufficient, so that your supporter does not feel like they will have to support you forever. Do you plan to start a business in the U.S.? A profession you will engage in? A license you will obtain? Explain it, and more importantly, plan it out. The most compelling message is one that creates and impression that the help you are seeking from your supporter (whether it is form I-134A only, or help with housing and resettlement) is the only missing step that separates you from getting your life back on track.Once you’ve composed your message, re-read it as if it were written by a stranger from another country. Does it make you want to help that person? Does it provide enough information to understand their situation and trust them? If not, re-write it.
- Mind your safety! Before giving away your passport details and accepting any offers of houses and/or a job, make sure the supporter is trustworthy, and the offer is legitimate.
- It does not cost any money for the supporter to file the form. If the supporter asks you for money in exchange for filing I-134A, this is likely a scam!
- Do not accept offers to smuggle a non-Ukrainian person into the U.S. pretending to be your spouse or common-law partner. You both will be detained at the border and put in removal with a subsequent ban on entry.
- Keep in mind that a supporter is not obligated to provide you with housing or help you financially even if they promised to do so! Prepare to be responsible for your own living arrangements and finances. Have a plan B if your relationship with your supporter falls apart - this happens often!
Information by NovaUkraine.org