Under section 212(d)(5)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), humanitarian parole is used sparingly to bring an otherwise inadmissible individual into the United States for a temporary period of time due to urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant parole temporarily:
- To anyone applying for admission into the United States based on urgent humanitarian reasons or if there is a significant public benefit
- For a period of time that corresponds with the length of the emergency or humanitarian situation
Parolees must depart the United States before the expiration of their parole or risk being placed in removal proceedings. You may submit a request for re-parole, which must be approved by USCIS. Parole does not grant any permanent immigration benefits, but does enable one to apply for and receive employment authorization. There is no appeal from denial of parole. However, if there are significant new facts that are relevant to your application, you may submit new documents with updated supporting evidence.
Common Types of Parole Requests
- Family Reunification (adults and children)
- Civil and Criminal Court Proceedings
- Other Emergent Requests
Over the years, approximately 25% of the received applications have been approved. Generally, approximately 1,200 applications are received per year.
Requirements for Parole
- Anyone can file an application for humanitarian parole, including the prospective parolee, a sponsoring relative, an attorney, or any other interested individual or organization.
- You may file an application for parole if you cannot obtain the necessary admission documents from the Department of State
- You cannot use parole to avoid normal visa-issuing procedures or to bypass immigration procedures. As noted above, there must be an urgent humanitarian reason or significant public benefit for the parole to be granted. Therefore, humanitarian parole is usually not recommended to individuals unless all other avenues for entry into the United States have been exhausted.
Filing for Parole
To file for parole you must:
- Complete Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, and include the filing fee for each parole applicant
- Complete Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, for each applicant in order to demonstrate that you will not become a public charge
- Include detailed explanation and evidence of your circumstances
- Detailed explanation of the reasons why you are applying for Humanitarian Parole and the length of time for which you need Humanitarian Parole (the maximum time is usually limited to one year)
- Detailed explanation of why you cannot obtain a U.S. nonimmigrant visa from the Department of State including:
- when and where you attempted to obtain visas,
- if you were denied, send a copy of the denial letter given to you
- Detailed explanation of the reasons why you cannot obtain any required waiver of inadmissibility (if applicable) and a copy of the denial letter if you received one
- Copies of any previously approved immigrant petitions (Forms I-130, I-140, I-360, etc.)
- Copies of supporting documents (tax returns, doctor’s letters, etc.)
USCIS generally will send you a written decision on a request for humanitarian parole within 90-120 business days from the time USCIS receives the application. Urgent cases may be processed within days when necessary. Parole is seldom granted for longer than one year.
Requests for humanitarian parole can only be accepted for individuals who are currently outside of the United States unless it is a request for extension of parole that was granted at USCIS Headquarters, Washington, DC. Parole of children, including for medical needs, requires the consent of a parent or legal guardian and in some cases may also require approval from the appropriate authorities in the child’s country.
File a request for re-parole at least 90 days before the expiration date on your Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record.
To apply for an extension of parole with USCIS you must:
- Have received your humanitarian parole from USCIS
- File Form I-131, Application for Travel Document
- Include the filing fee
- File a Form I-134, Affidavit of Support
- Include a copy of your Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, that you were issued upon parole into the United States
If you need humanitarian parole for medical reasons, you must submit the following, with documentation to support any assertions, where available:
- An explanation from a medical doctor stating the diagnosis and prognosis, and how long the treatment is expected to last
- Information on the reasons why you cannot obtain treatment in your home country or in a neighboring country
- The estimated cost of the treatment and an explanation on how the treatment will be paid for
- How you will pay to return to your country
Attorney Sharon Liu received her Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she was actively involved in the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, Workers’ Rights Clinic, and Civil Justice Clinic. She received UC Hastings’ Outstanding Achievement in Pro Bono Award and was a member of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association. Prior to working at Lipman & Wolf, LLP, she was a Law Fellow at the International Institute of the Bay Area and Bay Area Legal Aid. She is fluent in Chinese (Mandarin).