Breaking News: Venezuelan Parole Program
Contributor: Van T. Doan
On October 12, 2022, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the implementation of a new process for Venezuelan nationals to enter the United States. The program is capped at 24,000 individuals, so those who are eligible and seek to enter the United States must act quickly.
The newly-announced Venezuelan parole program is similar to the Uniting for Ukraine process established earlier in 2022.
Who is Eligible for the Venezuelan Parole Program?
In order to be a beneficiary of this program, a Venezuelan national must meet the following criteria:
- The Venezuelan national or their immediate family member must currently be outside of the United States. There is currently no “parole in place” program available for Venezuelan nationals already in the United States. Immediate family members for purposes of this program include the spouse or common-law partner of a Venezuelan national and their unmarried children under the age of 21. Children under the age of 18 must travel with a parent or legal guardian.
- A lead beneficiary may not have dual citizenship or permanent residency, or have refugee status in a country other than Venezuela. However, this restriction does not apply to immediate family members of the lead beneficiary.
- The beneficiary must have an eligible supporter within the United States.
- The beneficiary must have passed all required national security and public safety vetting. They must also comply with vaccination requirements and any additional requirements.
- The beneficiary must not have been ordered removed from the United States within the past five years, nor be barred from the country based on a previous removal order.
- The beneficiary must have a valid Venezuelan passport. Per a U.S. Customs and Border Protection announcement, “Venezuelan passport holders will have the validity period of five years from the expiration date of their passport and have valid admission to the United States, so long as the traveler has a valid visa.” Note that even infants are required to have a passport.
- The beneficiary must be able to show that a grant of parole is justified due to urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.
- The beneficiary must warrant a favorable exercise of discretion.
- The beneficiary must provide for their own commercial air travel to an internal port of entry (POE).
Who is an “Eligible Supporter” for Purposes of the Venezuelan Parole Program?
In order to qualify as an eligible supporter for purposes of this process, an individual must:
- Be located in the United States.
- Be either a U.S. citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident, or hold a lawful status in the United States. “Lawful status” for purposes of the Venezuelan parole program includes Temporary Protected Status (TPS); asylum; parole; or recipient of deferred action or Deferred Enforced Departure.
- Pass a security and background vetting.
- Show that they have sufficient financial resources to support the beneficiary throughout their parole period.
- Fill out Form I-134, Declaration of Financial Support, naming the beneficiary. A supporter may complete Form I-134 for multiple beneficiaries if they have the financial resources to do so; there must be a separate Declaration of Financial Support for each beneficiary.
What is the Process for Venezuelans to Apply for Parole?
The application process is online only. There is no filing fee for the program. The beneficiary’s supporter in the United States must complete Form I-134. After the Declaration of Financial Support is submitted, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will send the beneficiary an email with instructions to submit their information through USCIS and the CBP One Mobile Application.
After submitting the necessary information, the beneficiary will receive notice of travel authorization. The beneficiary must arrange commercial air travel to a port of entry, and parole will be granted on a case-by-case basis.
What You Need to Know About Venezuelan Parole
This is a very new program; in the days and weeks ahead, there may be changes to the information above. The program also has a very limited capacity, is “first come, first served,” and may fill quickly. Even if an applicant meets all the criteria listed above, it is not certain that they will be granted parole.
You are not required to have an attorney’s help to apply for this process or to sponsor a beneficiary. However, an attorney's assistance may be helpful in correctly completing the necessary documentation. If you have questions about this parole process for Venezuelan nationals, please contact our law office.
Categories: Immigration Law