USCIS uses its discretion to authorize parole. Parole allows an individual, who may be inadmissible or otherwise ineligible for admission into the United States, to be paroled into the United States for a temporary period. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) allows the secretary of Homeland Security to use their discretion to parole any foreign national applying for admission into the United States temporarily for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. (See INA section 212(d)(5)).
An individual who is paroled into the U.S. has not been formally admitted into the United States for purposes of immigration law.
Parole is not intended to be used solely to avoid normal visa processing procedures and timelines, to bypass inadmissibility waiver processing, or to replace established refugee processing channels.
Length of Parole
If authorized, we will specify the duration of parole for a temporary period of time to accomplish the purpose of the parole, as indicated in Part 3 of Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. For example, if parole is requested to attend a civil court proceeding between private parties, we may authorize parole for the period of time necessary to attend the proceedings. Parole is typically granted for no more than a year.
Parole ends on the date the parole period expires or when the beneficiary departs the United States or acquires an immigration status, whichever occurs first. In some cases, we may place conditions on parole, such as reporting requirements. We may revoke parole at any time and without notice if it determines that parole is no longer warranted or the beneficiary fails to comply with any conditions of parole.
If not inconsistent with the purpose and duration of parole, we may, in our discretion, grant a parolee temporary employment authorization. The parolee may request employment authorization after being paroled into the United States by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
One important factor USCIS considers in determining whether to exercise discretion to authorize parole is whether the beneficiary will have a means of support while in the United States. USCIS requires evidence of a sponsor to provide financial support to the parolee in the United States. Lack of evidence of financial support while in the United States is a strong negative factor that may lead to a denial of parole. USCIS may take into account the Health and Human Services Federal poverty guidelines along with any special circumstances related to the beneficiary’s need for care in assessing whether there are sufficient funds in place to adequately support the beneficiary once in the United States.
Requirements for Sponsors
The sponsor is the individual who agrees to provide financial support to the beneficiary while they are in the United States for the duration of the parole authorization period. The financial sponsor may or may not be the same person or entity as the petitioner. The sponsor must submit a Form I-134, Affidavit of Support (PDF, 461 KB) for each parole request to establish whether they have enough financial resources to support the parolee during their stay in the United States, and if the funds are overseas, access to those funds for the parolee’s stay in the United States.
Though there is no requirement regarding the sponsor’s immigration status in the United States, a sponsor who has a more permanent status in the United States, such as lawful permanent residence or is a U.S. citizen, may more readily be able to establish the ability to support the parolee in the United States. Evidence of the sponsor’s immigration status or citizenship in the United States may be relevant to the sponsor’s ability to support the beneficiary. Therefore, the petitioner should generally include evidence of the sponsor’s immigration status or citizenship in the United States, such as the sponsor’s permanent residence card, naturalization certificate, birth certificate or passport with the parole request.
When determining a sponsor, the petitioner must take into account the Health and Human Services Federal poverty guidelines, and any special needs of the beneficiary. If the petitioner is unable to identify a sponsor who alone has sufficient means to support the beneficiary in the United States, the petitioner may indicate more than one sponsor if they have the means and agree to support the beneficiary while paroled in the United States.
A beneficiary may also demonstrate that he or she is financially self-sufficient by submitting a Form I-134, Affidavit of Support with supporting financial documentation.
Organization as a Sponsor
Occasionally, a non-profit organization or medical institution may serve as a sponsor on a parole application. In those instances, if an employee of the organization cannot complete a Form I-134, Affidavit of Support (PDF, 461 KB), the petitioner should include with the parole application, a letter from the organization committing to support the beneficiary.
Eligibility for Parole
A USCIS officer considers each request and the evidence provided on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all of the circumstances. (See Section 212(d)(5) of the INA.) The burden of proof is on the petitioner to establish that parole should be authorized. Parole will be authorized only if we conclude, based on all the evidence the petitioner submits and any other relevant evidence available to us, that There are urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons for the beneficiary to be in the United States; and The beneficiary merits a favorable exercise of discretion.
Urgent Humanitarian Reasons
There is no statutory or regulatory definition of “urgent humanitarian reasons.” USCIS officers look at all of the circumstances, taking into account factors such as (but not limited to):
- Whether or not the circumstances are pressing;
- The effect of the circumstances on the individual’s welfare and wellbeing; and
- The degree of suffering that may result if parole is not authorized.
- An applicant may demonstrate urgency by establishing a reason to be in the United States that calls for immediate or other time-sensitive action, including (but not limited to) critical medical treatment, or the need to visit, assist or support a family member who is at an end of life stage of an illness or disease.
- The factors considered in determining urgent humanitarian reasons are dependent on the type of parole request. See Guidance for Certain Types of Humanitarian or Significant Public Benefit Parole Requests for more information on factors often considered in some of the more common types of requests.
Significant Public Benefit
There is no statutory or regulatory definition of “significant public benefit.” Parole based on significant public benefit includes, but is not limited to, law enforcement and national security reasons or foreign or domestic policy considerations. USCIS officers look at all of the circumstances presented in the case.
While the beneficiary may personally benefit from the authorization of parole, the statutory standard focuses on the public benefit in extending parole. For example, a beneficiary’s participation in legal proceedings may constitute a significant public benefit, because the opportunity for all relevant parties to participate in legal proceedings may be required for justice to be served.
There may be circumstances where a request is based on both urgent humanitarian reasons and significant public benefit reasons. For example, a person may be paroled if they have a request for medical care that involves experimental treatment or medical trials from which a larger community in the United States may benefit.
Determining Who is Authorized Parole
USCIS exercises discretion on a case-by-case basis, by evaluating positive factors in the record against any negative factors. Having an urgent humanitarian reason or a significant public benefit is a positive determining factor and it is evaluated against any negative factors present in a case. We evaluate the complete record.
Some common discretionary factors that are being evaluate include (but are not limited to):
- Whether the purpose of the parole request may be accomplished within a specific, temporary period of time;
- Whether the beneficiary intends to leave the United States once their parole expires or has means to obtain lawful immigration status during the parole authorization period or any re-parole period that is envisioned (where applicable);
- Whether there is evidence of any national security concerns;
- Whether there is evidence of any criminal history or previous immigration violations;
- Whether there is evidence of any previous participation in fraud;
- Whether the beneficiary’s presence would benefit a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident or community in the United States;
- Whether the beneficiary will have sufficient financial support while in the United States;
- Evidence of the beneficiary’s character;
- The effect of the beneficiary’s presence on a community in the United States; and
- Whether there are other means, other than parole, that are available to the beneficiary so they can travel to and remain in the United States for the stated parole purpose, such as the ability or inability to obtain a visa.
No one factor determines the outcome of the case. Each decision is based on all of the circumstances presented in a case.
A parole can be revoked at any time if it is determined that parole is no longer warranted or the beneficiary fails to comply with any conditions on the parole.
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