By Reuben Seguritan
Foreign nationals who are otherwise inadmissible may still enter the US on a temporary basis using humanitarian parole.
Humanitarian parole is a discretionary power of the United States to allow foreign nationals to enter the United States for a limited period of time because of an urgent or compelling emergency or when there will be a significant public benefit. After the conditions of the parole are fulfilled, the foreign national must leave the United States. This method of entering the United States is an extraordinary measure granted sparingly by the United States. Hence, if the application is denied, there is no appeal. Furthermore, it cannot be used to circumvent the normal process of visa application. Examples of reasons for requesting humanitarian parole are: funerals, medical and other emergencies, family reunification of children under 16 years old, and to attend court or administrative proceedings.
The request for humanitarian parole can be sent to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The most common method is sending the application to the USCIS because the foreign national is outside the United States. The request to the CBP is made when the foreign national is at the port-of-entry in the United States. The request to ICE is made in the following circumstances: the foreign national is currently in deportation proceedings; there is a final order of removal; he was deported from the United States; the request is based on attendance in a court or administrative proceeding; the case implicates a law enforcement investigation (i.e. he is an informant); intelligence matters; extradition cases; and parental termination proceedings.
When applying for humanitarian parole, the foreign national must include the filled-up required forms and supporting evidence and documents. Affidavits or letters from family members or professionals and medical documentation in cases of medical emergencies should be included in the application. The foreign national should also include employment information in their home country, and other information that would show the foreign national has ties to his home country and hence, will return to his home country after the conditions of the parole have been fulfilled. The application for humanitarian parole may also be filed by the relative of the foreign national, the foreign national’s attorney or any interested organization or party. The usual processing time for applications is 90 to 120 days.
If there is an urgent need for the humanitarian parole to be granted, the foreign national should make a note for expedited processing and highlight this in the cover letter of the application. The processing time for an expedited request is quicker than the usual processing time.
If the application for humanitarian parole is granted and the foreign national is outside the United States, the USCIS will forward the approval notice to the US Consulate. The US Consulate will then arrange for the interview and further processing of the foreign national applicant. After everything is processed, the foreign national will be given the “boarding foil” or the authority to board an airplane bound for the United States.
If the application for humanitarian parole is granted and the foreign national is in the United States or at the port-of-entry, the foreign national’s photograph and fingerprints will be taken and an I-94 will then be issued.
When the foreign national is in the US, he may file an extension of his parole. This is also known as “re-parole”. The application for re-parole should be submitted at least 90 days before the end of the current parole period with the same agency that processed the initial parole. If the parole was granted by the USCIS, then the foreign national must again file with the USCIS. If the initial parole was submitted and approved by the CBP, the re-parole application and the supporting and compelling evidence should be sent to the port-director. If the parole was granted by ICE, the re-parole should be submitted to the Office of the Chief Counsel or Enforcement and Removal Operations to renew the I-94.