What Humanitarian Parole is?
Humanitarian parole is used to bring someone who may be inadmissible or is otherwise ineligible for admission into the United States for a temporary period of time due to a compelling humanitarian reason or for significant public benefit.
According to IRAP, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rejects most humanitarian parole applications. The USCIS exercises discretion on a case-by-case basis and authorizes parole requests only where people have no other legal option to enter the US.
Note: This article will focus on the application procedure for humanitarian parole requests submitted from outside the US for urgent humanitarian reasons.
Who is eligible?
Anyone in need of life-saving medical treatment, in danger or for urgent humanitarian reasons can apply for humanitarian parole.
There is no definition of ‘urgent humanitarian reasons.’ However, USCIS officers may consider 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.
You 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) traveling to the US for protection from targeted or individualized harm. Please consider that you are requested to provide evidence for each of the reasons.
Anyone seeking humanitarian parole is encouraged to read the Guidance on Evidence for Certain Types of Humanitarian or Significant Public Benefit Parole Requests.
If you do not have an urgent humanitarian reason for your visit, you must follow the normal visa issuing procedures. Learn more about the normal visa procedures here.
How to apply?
Anyone may request humanitarian parole for themselves, or on behalf of another individual.
If you are still in Afghanistan, you may file a request for humanitarian parole, or someone may file one for you. However, because the U.S. Embassy in Kabul is closed and all normal consular services in Afghanistan have been suspended, you may need to travel to a third country for processing before USCIS approves humanitarian parole.
As a first step of your application, you will need to fill out required forms and file your request. Here’s a list of documents to file your humanitarian parole application:
- A copy of your passport and two passport photos.
If you do not have a passport, IRAP suggests noting in the humanitarian parole request that you do not have one.
- Form I-131 (Application for travel document) – click here to download form I-131.
Please carefully review the instructions prior filling out the form I-131, you can find them by clicking here.
Each family member (including children) must complete a separate Form I-131. However, you may submit them together in one envelope. More info can be found on the USCIS website here.
It is essential to include your contact information (email address, phone number, and
physical address) in the parole application, and that USCIS is notified of any changes to that
- Filing fee ($575) for Form I-131 for each parole applicant, if applicable.
If you do not have enough money, you can request a fee waiver by using the Form I-912 (Request for fee waiver) – click here to download form I-912. Please carefully review the instructions prior filling out the form I-192, you can find them by clicking here.
Please note that to qualify for the fee waiver, your household income must be at or below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Learn more here.
You may file one Form I-192 for all family-related applications filed at the same time, as long as all family members requesting the waiver sign the form. More info can be found on the USCIS website here.
- Form I-134 (Affidavit of Support) – click here to download the form I-134.
Please carefully review the instructions for form I-134, for information about what kind of evidence the sponsor is required to demonstrate sufficient income and financial resources. You can find for I-134 instructions by clicking here.
As a humanitarian parole applicant, you will need to find a US-based sponsor who agrees to provide financial support for the duration of the parole authorization period in the US. Your sponsor must have sufficient income or financial resources (125% of the federal poverty guideline (to include the beneficiaries a household members) to support you while in the US.
It is possible to apply on your own if you can show that you have sufficient resources to support yourself for the duration of your parole period. Lack of evidence of financial support is a strong negative factor that may lead to a denial of parole.
Sponsors can be an individual, multiple people, or an organization. You may also demonstrate you are financially self-sufficient, and therefore self-sponsor yourself. Your sponsor must provide evidence of their finances (this can include proof of job and salary, bank accounts, copies of income tax returns for the last two years). Please find more information on ‘the need for a sponsor’ section at the dedicated USCIS page.
- Required evidence and supporting documentation for each parole request
It is important to carefully review the type of evidence that you may need to support a request for humanitarian parole. Submitting all required documentation and evidence in the beginning allows USCIS to process your application quickly and efficiently and avoid delays. The USCIS Officer examining your files may issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) in case they need more evidence to make a decision on your case.
For further information on supporting evidence to support the parole request, please see ‘Submitting evidence’ in the ‘Parole process’ section on USCIS’s Humanitarian or Significant Public Benefit Parole for Individuals Outside the United States webpage.
To request expedited processing, in case of life threatening or other extremely urgent situation, you should write the word EXPEDITE in the top right corner of the application in black ink. Make sure to include your contact details (email address, phone number) and a detailed explanation of the reason for the expedite request along with any available supporting evidence.
- Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application Acceptance – click here to download the G-114 form. Complete it and clip it to the front of the application.
More useful instructions in English, Dari and Pashto can be found on the Afghan-American community website, by clicking here.
Once you duly filled out the forms and gathered all the supporting documents and evidence, submit your request for humanitarian parole at the following address:
USCIS Dallas Lockbox
For Express Mail and courier deliveries:
Do I need a lawyer?
You are not required to have a lawyer to request humanitarian parole.
Lawyers in the US can be very expensive. However, you may be able to find a pro bono legal aid lawyer who can assist you with your matter at no charge.
How long does it take to process the request?
Once USCIS received your request, you should receive a receipt notice confirming that USCIS received your forms. Within 2 business days of receiving the request, (usually two weeks after Lockbox filing), USCIS-IO reviews each request to determine urgency.
Processing time varies according to case complexity and how thorough the supporting documentation is. USCIS strives to complete requests for parole for applicants outside the United States within 3 months. However, if you go to a third country for further processing as a potential humanitarian parole beneficiary, you should be prepared to remain there for several months.
What are the chances my parole will be approved?
Typically, humanitarian parole applications are rarely approved. Since September 2021, USCIS has received a very high volume of humanitarian parole requests from Afghan nationals, and it is not clear how long it will take for them to adjudicate these applications nor what the approval rate will be.
Many humanitarian groups have called on the US to create a humanitarian parole category specifically for certain Afghan nationals, which would streamline processing and result in more approvals. As of October 20, there is no such parole category specifically dedicated to Afghan national.
Ok. What’s next?
After reviewing your file, USCIS will provide notification of the decision.
If parole request is authorized: USCIS will mail an approval letter. The letter provides notice of the decision and next steps for obtaining travel documents. This includes competition of Form DS-160, Application for a Non-immigrant Visa, and appear for an appointment with to verify your identity and collect biometrics for security vetting. Learn more here, checking step 6 and 7 in the ‘Parole process’ section.
Please note that U.S. Embassy in Kabul is closed and all normal consular services in Afghanistan have been suspended. You may need to travel to a third country for processing before USCIS approves humanitarian parole. Once able to make private arrangements to travel to a third country where there is a US embassy or consulate, please notify USCIS immediately at HumanitarianParole@uscis.dhs.gov.
If parole request is denied: USCIS will mail a denial letter. You cannot appeal the denial, but if there are significant new fact that are relevant to parole request, you may file a new application.
How long with the parole last?
Parole USCIS authorizes humanitarian parole on a case-by-case basis and specifies the duration of the parole.
If you need to remain beyond the authorized parole period to accomplish the purpose for which parole was approved, you must file a new Form I-131 with all supporting documentation to request a new parole authorization and type or print REPAROLE in capital letters at the top of the new Form I-131.
Does Humanitarian parole provide me lawful permanent status in the US?
Humanitarian parole allows for lawful temporary presence in the US, but it does not confer immigration status and does not provide an automatic path to lawful permanent residence (LPR) or other immigration statuses.
After arrival in the United States, you must take additional steps in advance of the expiration of your parole to ensure you remain legally present after your authorized period of humanitarian parole in the United States has ended.
Failure to maintain lawful presence throughout your entire stay in the US can have serious immigration consequences, including being required to leave the US.
Few more important things to know about parole:
- After arrival in the United States, you may be eligible to apply for a permanent immigration status. This may include options for lawful permanent residence (a “green card”) through family-based immigrant petition, special immigrant status, or employment-based options.
In some cases, you may be eligible to pursue asylum if you believe you have suffered persecution or fear you will suffer persecution due to your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Asylum applicants must file their request within one year of arriving in the United States. Please consider seeking individualized legal aid in the US as soon as possible to better understand viable options and make informed decisions.
- If you get paroled into the US, you are not automatically entitled to work in the country, but must request permission to work from USCIS, which may grant it in its discretion. To this end, make sure to get the Form I-765 approved. Learn more at this link: https://www.uscis.gov/i-765
- You may have access to resettlement benefits and services you are an Afghan national paroled into the US between July 31, 2021, and September 30, 2022, and whose parole has not been terminated by DHS.