Parole Status

Parole Status in US Immigration


Parole is a special permission that allows some foreigners to enter and stay in the United States without being admitted. The US government can use its power to parole people in certain situations, even if they don't have a proper visa.

Parole is not the same as having an immigration status - it only gives temporary permission to be in the country. This article will explain parole, who can get it, and how it works.

Many people might be eligible for parole in different circumstances. Some examples include needing urgent medical care, reuniting with family, or being unable to return home for safety reasons.

The government also uses parole for specific groups, like Ukrainians fleeing the war. No matter the reason, anyone who wants to come to or stay in the US through parole must apply and be approved.

The application is reviewed to ensure people meet the parole guidelines. Factors like health, family ties, and financial support are considered. Once someone is paroled, there are still some rules to follow.

This article will give details on applying for parole, what getting approved means, and the regulations for paroled individuals. The goal is to help readers understand this complex topic in easy-to-follow terms.


Types of Parole


Different types of parole are used in various situations. The main categories include humanitarian parole, advance parole, program-based parole, and family reunification parole.

Humanitarian parole

Humanitarian parole allows someone to enter the US if they have an urgent need, like a medical emergency or being in danger in their home country. Applications are reviewed case-by-case to see if humanitarian parole is justified.

Advance Parole

Advance parole allows those with pending applications, like green card requests, to travel outside the US for a reason like a family visit and return to the US without issues while the application is still being processed.

Program-based Parole

Certain groups from select countries may be eligible for program-based parole. Examples include paroling Ukrainians or Central Americans into the US if they have a family sponsor. These aim to help those displaced or fleeing threats.

Family Reunification Parole

For those with family in the US, there are sometimes parole programs for reuniting relatives. Examples include parole options for Cuban or Haitian family members of US citizens or residents. Being paroled can allow the family to live together while an immigration process, like a family visa petition, is pending.


Parole Programs for Specific Nationalities


The United States sometimes uses parole to help groups of people from certain countries.

One new program is for Ukrainians fleeing the war with Russia. It allows Ukrainians to come to America for two years if they have family or an organization to support them. Since so many Ukrainians had to escape the fighting and bombs, this parole lets them find temporary safety in the US.

Another nationality that can recently use parole is Central Americans from countries like El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. , violence and gangs make life dangerous in parts of Central America. So, a program lets children and parents from these countries come to America for two years if the child's family in the US agrees to take care of them.

For Cubans, a parole program helps reunite families. Cuban relatives of US citizens or residents can come to America using parole before their visa is ready. That lets families stay together while waiting for a green card. The program aims to keep Cubans from risking dangerous boat rides to Florida.

Filipinos who served in World War 2 working with Americans could also apply to bring family to the US using parole. Since these veterans helped the US military, the program honored that service by reuniting them with parents, children, and partners through parole.


Family Reunification Parole


Certain family members of US citizens and permanent residents qualify for reunification parole. Parents, children, and siblings are most often eligible to rejoin their close relatives living in America.

The application process involves proving the family relationship with documents like birth and marriage certificates. If approved, the paroled family member receives permission to enter the US and live with their sponsoring relative while a visa becomes available. They can then transition to permanent status.

After arriving through family parole, there are still some program rules. Check-ins with Immigration may be required to show stable living conditions. Parole can last six months to a few years, depending on visa backlogs.

Parolees may apply to change their status or rejoin relatives who become citizens. The goal remains to keep immediate kin together while navigating the immigration system.

Sponsor Requirements

To the affidavit of support form, financial sponsors must submit current pay information like recent tax returns, W-2s, or pay stubs. If self-employed, business records proving income are used. Assets like property, investments, or bank statements can further verify the money available to support a paroled family member.

Sponsors are not expected to provide long-term care for parolees but must ensure basic needs are met upon arrival. Healthcare and an established place to live are essential. Sponsors may be asked to update records every few months, showing circumstances that have stayed the same in ways that prevent continued help. That ensures that the government parolee will avoid being absent.


Eligibility Criteria for Parole


Public health or safety risks generally make someone ineligible for parole. Crimes, infectious diseases, or mental health issues prohibiting independent living could be red flags if an applicant misrepresents facts or has a history of immigration law violations, which raises credibility issues and hurts their case.

On the positive side, proof of strong community ties through a job, school enrollment, or volunteer roles in their home country bolsters eligibility. Humanitarian factors like fleeing dangers or offering critical aid also influence decisions. The eligibility guidelines give officers discretion based on individual hardships and character portrayed.


The Parole Application Process


Applying for parole requires completing several stages for immigration officials to review each situation appropriately. The process involves submitting paperwork, undergoing reviews, and finally appearing for entry if approved.

Step 1: Eligibility Check

Check your current immigration status - you must reside in the US without a valid immigrant visa. Typical scenarios include pending asylum of status applications.

Review your criminal history for any felonies or serious misdemeanors that can make you ineligible. Minor traffic offenses may be waived.

Establish strong family/community ties to the US, such as relatives who are US citizens willing to sponsor you.

Draft a persuasive statement explaining the urgent humanitarian grounds for parole,  serious medical condition, natural disaster relief, etc., or significant public benefit your entry provides. Consult with an immigration attorney if needed.

Step 2: Gathering Documents

  • Form I-131 (Application for Travel Document): Complete Sections 1-4, providing biographic details, travel information, and the basis for the parole request, along with photos and fee payment.
  • Passport biodata pages and expired visas/I-94 records (print I-94 online)
  • Birth certificate, marriage certificate, and proof of termination of previous marriages, if any
  • Police clearance certificates from countries of residence in the last five years
  • Financial documents - tax returns, payroll stubs, bank statements of sponsor
  • Affidavit of support (Form I-134) signed by financial sponsor
  • Medical records or documents supporting the stated humanitarian need for parole
  • There is evidence of community ties, such as utility bills, lease agreements, letters of support from US relatives/friends, etc.
  • Resume, employment offer letter, or proof of qualifying entrepreneurship for public benefit parole
  • Step 3: Filling the Forms

    Fill out Form I-131 completely; even minor mistakes can lead to rejection. Prepare clear, legible copies of all documents gathered and organize them. Attach a detailed cover letter explaining your case and the requested parole category. Mail the completed application packet to the correct USCIS lockbox or service center.

    Step 4: Filing Process

    The completed parole application packet must be filed at the correct USCIS office or service center with jurisdiction over the applicant's current residence in the United States.

    The application can be submitted in person to the local USCIS office or sent to the designated lockbox address or service center. Filing with the right location is imperative to avoid processing delays or rejections. The filing fees must also be paid as instructed on the form.

    Step 5: Background Check

    Once the application is received, USCIS will start background checks on the applicant. This involves thoroughly reviewing the applicant's immigration history, which is documented in government databases such as CBP and ICE records.

    Criminal background checks of national and international crime databases are also carried out to vet for any criminal convictions. The checks aim to determine if the applicant has maintained lawful status, did not overstay any previous visas, and has no criminal history that can impact their eligibility. Any discrepancies or red flags will need to be addressed or clarified.

    Step 6: Interview

    For parole application categories, such as those based on demonstrating public benefit, USCIS may schedule an in-person interview with the applicant. In the interview, an officer will check the application documents and seek clarification or more evidence on any issues.

    They can ask questions about the applicant's background, claimed ties to family or organizations in the US, plans, and the basis for urgent humanitarian parole or public benefit. That allows the officer to gather more information to aid in the final decision.

    Step 7: Decision

    After completing a thorough review and analysis of the application and any other received inputs, USCIS will decide whether to approve or deny the parole request. The decision will be based on the applicant meeting all eligibility criteria, like having no immigration violations or criminal record, and the case's merits in demonstrating urgent need or significant benefit qualifying them for humanitarian or public interest parole.

    Step 8: Travel

    If parole is approved, the applicant will receive an I-512 document allowing parole entry along with the conditions of the grant. They can then travel to the US and be paroled at the port of entry for the period indicated, which is usually one year. This allows them to enter the US to pursue their stated goals, such as pending applications or relief programs.


    USCIS Review and Decision Process


    After applying, an immigration officer will look at the forms and documents submitted. They may ask for more evidence or have the person come to an interview to answer questions.

    The officer considers family ties, health, criminal record, and financial support guidelines. Then, a supervisor reviews the case. If approved, a letter is sent. The letter will explain why the person does not qualify for parole if denied.

    As part of their review, USCIS will conduct security checks with other government agencies to ensure the applicant does not pose any risks. The information from the forms, interviews, and background checks will help the officers decide if parole is the proper immigration benefit in that situation.

    If more information is needed to decide, USCIS can issue a "Notice of Intent to Deny." That allows the applicant to clear up any issues or provide missing proof before the case is rejected. In many cases, the entire review process takes several months on average to complete.


    Obtaining Travel Documents for Paroled Entry


    Once parole is approved, the next step is getting the travel papers required to board a plane for America.

    The applicant works with their local US embassy or consulate for this. They must fill out forms, give personal details, and attend an interview appointment.

    During this in-person meeting, fingerprints and photos will be taken for security clearance.

    If no red flags appear, the person receives a temporary travel permit called a boarding foil. It is only suitable for 30 days, so the approved individual must travel within that window.


    Implications of Parole Status


    Getting parole allows a person to be in the United States for a set period.

    They cannot be deported during this time. Parolees may also apply to work with a permit. But, parole does not provide a permanent immigration status or path to citizenship. After the parole expires, the person would need to leave the country or find another lawful status.

    While in the US on parole, individuals must follow all laws, including filing taxes and avoiding criminal offenses. Parole can be taken away at any time if a person is deemed a risk.

    Remaining in the country after parole ends becomes an unlawful presence, affecting future visa applications. Living with these conditions is part of having a temporary status through parole.

    Getting parole does not mean a guaranteed right to renew or change to another status. The government keeps complete discretion over immigration benefits.

    Parolees cannot petition for family members and have limited options if plans change during their authorized stay. Completing parole requires adhering to all terms.


    Terminating or Extending Parole


    Parole status lasts one or two years, according to the individual case.

    However, unforeseen events could require terminating it early. Examples include unpaid medical bills, breaking the law, or failing to attend required check-ins with immigration officials. The parole agency can end it at any time under these conditions.

    A person can apply to extend parole if more time is needed in the United States beyond the original parole expiration. To do so, they must file another form and provide any documentation proving the need. Extensions are not guaranteed, and a renewed review of whether continued parole still aligns with guidelines is needed.

    In some cases, someone who spent years in the US on extended or many parole grants may qualify to reside. They would pursue citizenship or a green card through other legal processes. , parole is a temporary measure, not a pathway to permanent status on its own.


    Impact of Recent Policy Changes


  • Expansion of the Uniting for Ukraine program in 2022 to accept 100,000 Ukrainians displaced by war and provide them with two years of parole.
  • The new parole process in 2021 for certain nationals of Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and El Salvador will allow 30,000 people to enter the US monthly if sponsored.
  • Resumption of Central American Minors program under Biden allowing refugees and parole of children/families from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala to reunite with family in the US.
  • Ending of parole for Filipino WWII veterans' family members in 2017 following an executive order limiting discretionary parole.
  • Termination of the Central American Minors program under Trump in 2017-2018 through policy changes, halting family reunification for refugees/parolees from the Northern Triangle.
  • Ongoing litigation over CAM program termination requires continued processing of some pending cases and attempts to resume new filings.
  • Proposed legislation expanding parole eligibility for millions of undocumented persons in the Build Back Better Act (BBB), though parliamentarian opinion may prevent inclusion.
  • Increased security screening and reduced parole approvals were reported under some programs in 2021 compared to the initial years of operation.

  • Proposed Expansion of Parole through BBB Act


    The new Build Back Better Act law discussed may change who can get parole. It wants to let around 8 million undocumented immigrants apply for parole. These are people who have lived in America without papers since at least 2011. If the law passes, they could all apply to live and work in the US.

    The parole from this new law would last five years at first. Then, people could renew it for another five or ten years. This long parole time would help protect immigrants from being sent back home. It also means they could earn money to pay taxes and care for families. Supporters believe it's a fair chance while permanent solutions like green cards get worked out.


    WARNING: The foregoing is an article discussing legal issues. It is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. We recommend that you get competent legal advice specific to your case.

    Resources / Helpful Links:


  • Humanitarian or Significant Public Benefit Parole for Individuals Outside the United States (USCIS)
  • Parole Processing (USCIS)
  • Family Reunification Parole Processes (USCIS)
  • Processes for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans (USCIS)
  • Advance Parole (CBP)
  • I-131, Application for Travel Document (USCIS)
  • I-134, Declaration of Financial Support (USCIS)
  • Employment Authorization and Advance Parole Card (USCIS)
  • Estado de libertad condicional en inmigración (K & G Law LLP)
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