What is Parole in Place?
Parole in Place (PIP) is a humanitarian immigration policy that allows immediate family of active duty military personnel who might not otherwise qualify to apply for permanent residence here in the US, to do so by “paroling” them.
Why was this policy created?
According to the latest memo from USCIS, released late last year: “Military preparedness can potentially be adversely affected if active members of the U.S. Armed Forces and individuals serving in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, who can be quickly called into active duty, worry about the immigration status of their spouses, parents and children.”
Why is this important?
When a non-citizen enters the United States without inspection or parole, there can be major immigration consequences-the most significant of which is the individual’s ineligibility to adjust status here in the US, even if he/she is an immediate relative of a United States citizen. In such cases, generally speaking, the prospective immigrant will need to depart the US in order to pursue permanent residence through the consular process. However, depending on how long the individual has accrued “unlawful presence” here in the US, he/she may be barred for three or ten years from returning.
It is for this reason that many spouses and children of US service members who entered the United States without inspection have not pursued either adjustment of status or consular processing, keeping hopes of fixing their immigration status in limbo. Ironically, Parole in Place has been a policy in effect for many years. The November 2013 Memorandum, however, served to standardize the process for adjudicating these requests. Through Parole in Place, many immediate family members of active duty service members may now potentially apply for adjustment of status without having to leave the country and triggering the unlawful presence bar. At the same time, it is important to recognize that parole in place does not confer legal status upon the recipient. It is only one step towards permanent residence. The individual must still apply for adjustment of status and meet all the other admissibility requirements.
Who can take advantage of Parole in Place?
To take advantage of this policy, a non-citizen has to be a spouse, parent, or unmarried child (under the age of 21) of an active duty US service member, selected reserve of the ready reserve member, or a former active duty or selected reserve of the ready reserve member.
What disqualifies someone from receiving Parole in Place?
Anyone who has a criminal history or “other serious factors” may not be granted Parole in Place. It is a discretionary grant, like most other forms of humanitarian type of relief, such as the recent Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). If a non-citizen believes that there are any negative factors present in his/her background, he or she should contact an immigration attorney to evaluate prospective eligibility.
How to use Parole in Place?
Before an individual to whom this policy applies can apply for adjustment of status, he or she must apply for and receive Parole in Place. This is done by:
(1) Filing Form I-131 (application for travel document). There is no fee for this application.
(2) With evidence of his or her relationship to the qualifying military member
(3) With two identical, color, passport photographs
(4) And with any other evidence that the non-citizen would like USCIS to consider. This may include proof of the person’s good moral character.
After Parole in Place is granted, the non-citizen may then potentially apply for adjustment of status under Section 245a of the Immigration and Nationality Act, since he/she has now been “paroled” into the US.
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