On November 15, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Office of the Director, announced a new initiative in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense, called the “Parole in Place” program for spouses, parents, and children of U.S. military service members and veterans.
This program provides relief to certain immediate family members of military service members and veterans by allowing them to complete their applications for permanent resident status inside the United States instead of in their native country. In this way, these military families are able to avoid the stressful, painful, and possibly lengthy separations from their loved ones that are necessary in order to complete the immigration process from outside the United States.
In immigration law, “parole” refers to the decision by Immigration authorities to permit an individual to enter the United States without formally granting “admission” to that person.
Immigration authorities exercise this authority only when compelled to do so by “urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit,” under Section 212(d)(5)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
If an individual is granted “Parole in Place,” that means that he or she is permitted to “enter” the United States without the person actually leaving or physically re-entering the United States.
Parole in Place is an important benefit for immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens because an immediate relative of a U.S. Citizen who has been paroled into the United States will generally be eligible to apply for legal permanent residence inside the United States.
Otherwise, if an immediate relative of a U.S. Citizen has not been admitted or paroled, he or she usually has to apply for their permanent resident status from outside the country.
Spouses, children, and parents of active-duty or veteran U.S. military service members (including members of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve) may apply. They will need to show that they merit a favorable exercise of discretion in their case.
Following the November 15, 2013, Policy Memorandum, USCIS field offices around the country have been developing programs and procedures to accept and decide Parole in Place applications.
In order to apply for Parole in Place, applicants will need to submit a Form I-131 Application without fee, evidence of the family relationship (spouse, parent, or child), evidence of the service member or veteran’s military service, passport-size photographs of the applicant, and evidence of positive discretionary factors. The application is filed with the Director of the Field Office having jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence.
Parole in Place is not automatic or guaranteed in any case. Rather, the Field Office Director will review each application on a case-by-case basis and will only make a decision after conducting background checks and a full review of the applicant’s criminal and immigration history.
For more details, the Policy Memorandum is available at
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