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Nov 07, 2023 | Ralph Thomassaint Joseph

Humanitarian Parole Program: Who Qualifies?

To be eligible for the humanitarian parole program, Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans must have a supporter based in the U.S.

Since January 5, 2023, nationals from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela may request to come to the United States with their family members through a new humanitarian parole process. Each month, up to 30,000 individuals from these four countries who have an eligible sponsor and pass the vetting process and background checks will be allowed to come to the U.S. for two years and receive work authorization. 

As of June 2023, more than 188,000 individuals have been approved for travel under this program.

What is humanitarian parole?

Humanitarian parole allows the temporary presence of an individual in the United States, even if they are deemed ineligible or inadmissible for admission, as long as their stay is necessary for urgent humanitarian purposes or serves a significant public benefit.

Who is eligible for humanitarian parole?

According to USCIS, anyone can apply for humanitarian parole if they have “a compelling emergency, and there is an urgent humanitarian reason or significant public benefit” to allow them to enter the United States temporarily.

How to file for humanitarian parole?

To apply for humanitarian parole, you must:

If you are a potential supporter of a Ukrainian or their immediate family member as part of Uniting for Ukraine; or Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan, or Venezuelan or their immediate family member as part of the Processes for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans you must submit Form I-134A, Online Request to be a Supporter and Declaration of Financial Support. There is no fee required to file the form. 

Once you submit your application, you will receive a notice confirming USCIS received your forms. If applicable, you will receive a biometric services notice and a notice to appear for an interview. 

Sponsorship and supporters, explained

To be eligible for the humanitarian parole program, Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans must have a supporter or many supporters based in the United States. These sponsors can be individuals filing independently or with others or on behalf of organizations, businesses, and other entities. 

The sponsor must be a U.S. citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident. A sponsor can be a person holding a Temporary Protected Status (TPS), an asylee, a parolee, or a recipient of deferred action or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). Asylum seekers with pending cases cannot be sponsors. 

Supporters must pass background and security vetting. They must show they have enough financial resources to support an individual during their parole period. 

The supporter does not need to be a family member to submit form I-134A on behalf of a beneficiary. 

Organizations, businesses, and other entities must provide their commitment to support a beneficiary through a letter of commitment from an authorized organization representative describing the monetary and other types of support they will provide. USCIS uses the Federal Poverty Guidelines to determine the supporter’s ability to support a beneficiary during the humanitarian parole period. 

Supporters may support as many beneficiaries as they want. USCIS will determine its financial ability to support all the beneficiaries. Supporters must file separate forms I-134A for each beneficiary, even if they are members of the same family, including children. However, when many supporters join together to support a beneficiary, they must file a Form I-134A, including the identity of each supporter and the resources they will provide. They must attach a statement detailing how they will share the responsibility to support the beneficiary. 

Who can be a beneficiary?

The beneficiary must have a valid, unexpired passport and pay for their flight to the United States. If a beneficiary’s passport validity has been extended, the expiration date of the extension should be reflected as the passport expiration date, according to USCIS. 

The beneficiary and their immediate family member must be outside of the United States to qualify for the process. Nationals living outside their country under a Temporary Protection Permit can apply. 

There is no age limit to qualify. However, to travel, children under 18 years old must be accompanied by their parents or legal guardian. 

There is no specific duration of time that you need to have lived in your country of origin before your supporter can file Form I-134A on your behalf. Therefore, nationals living outside their country of origin are eligible to qualify. 

People paroled into the United States under the humanitarian parole process and have a separate immigration case pending can adjust their status later. The humanitarian parole does not impact their pending case.  

Beneficiaries who have been paroled into the United States are not obligated to live with their supporters in the United States. 

To be eligible, beneficiaries under the process may not be permanent residents or dual citizens of any other country. In addition, they must not hold any refugee status in any country during the time of application, except in cases where the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) operates a comparable parole system for nationals of that particular country. However, an eligible primary beneficiary can allow their immediate family members to qualify for the process, even if they have dual citizenship or hold a refugee status in any country. Adults with dual citizenship are not eligible. However, minor children of eligible applicants may have dual citizenship.

Beneficiaries must comply with vaccination requirements and other public health guidelines. 

Who is not qualified?

  • Individuals with dual citizenship. A person who is a permanent resident or a refugee status in another country.
  • People who have been ordered removed from the United States within the prior five years or are subject to a bar to inadmissibility based on a prior removal order.
  • Minors under 18 years old who are traveling under humanitarian parole without their parents or their legal guardians. 
  • Immigrants who have crossed the Mexican or the Panamanian border irregularly after the date the process was announced. (For Venezuelans, after Oct. 19, 2022; for Cubans, Haitians, and Nicaraguans, after Jan. 9, 2023). 
  • Immigrants who have crossed the U.S. border irregularly after the date the process was announced, except those permitted a single instance of voluntary departure under INA § 240B, 8 U.S.C. § 1229c or withdrawal of their application for admission under INA § 235(a)(4), 8 U.S.C. § 1225(a)(4)
  • People who fail to pass security and public security vetting.

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