United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has the ability to grant parole to individuals outside the United States who wish to enter the country but would ordinarily be inadmissible. Parole allows temporary entry into the U.S. for urgent humanitarian reasons, or for significant public benefit. Typically, parole is granted for only a limited period, generally one year or less.
There are a number of reasons a person might apply for humanitarian parole. Parole might be the only available option if the applicant is inadmissible to the U.S. and therefore doesn't qualify for a visitor visa. Parole is granted on a case-by-case basis, and there is no clear-cut rule as to when parole will be granted, but common reasons for application include needing to come to the U.S. for medical treatment, to visit a seriously ill relative, or to attend a funeral.
Parole may also be granted for purposes of family reunification, as with the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program implemented in 2015. This program allows Haitian family members of certain U.S. lawful permanent residents (LPRs) or citizens to be granted parole and to come to the U.S. pending the grant of the immigrant visas for which they have applied and expect to receive within a specified period.
A grant of humanitarian parole does not convey any immigration status. Individuals who have been granted parole are permitted to apply for temporary work authorization during their stay in the U.S.
Advance parole allows aliens with pending applications for immigration benefits or for changes in nonimmigrant status to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad. Aliens must apply for advance parole before leaving the United States. Failure to do so may constitute an abandonment of an application, or worse yet, leave an individual stuck outside the United States without any way to re-enter the country.
There are exceptions to the requirement of applying for advance parole for certain categories of aliens, including H-1 temporary workers and their spouses and L-1 intracompany transferees and their spouses. Certain refugees and individuals who entered the U.S. under a grant of asylum are also exempt from the requirement of applying for advance parole. However, unless you are absolutely certain that you may travel out of and back into the U.S. without being granted advance parole, do not take chances. Consult an immigration attorney, as a mistake could be very costly.
Parole in place (PIP), is a program that allows noncitizen spouses, unmarried minor children, and spouses of members of the U.S. military who are U.S. citizens to pursue LPR status or a green card. Parole in place allows those family members who already qualify for a green card to adjust their status without having to leave the U.S. This program, implemented in 2013, has been a source of relief to U.S. military service members and their families. Prior to the the PIP program, those family members who were in the country unlawfully, and wanted to apply for a green card, needed to leave the United States for consular processing. At that point they might be banned from the country for as long as ten years because they had been in the country without permission.
Unfortunately, military family members who otherwise might qualify for PIP cannot take advantage of the program if they are currently in deportation or removal proceedings or if they have a final order of removal on their record.
If you believe that you or a family member might benefit from humanitarian parole, advance parole, or parole in place, an experienced immigration attorney can advise you and guide you through the process. Please contact Howard County, MD immigration lawyer Van T. Doan to learn more about these programs and whether they could benefit you or your family.