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Jun 18, 2024 | Rommel H. Ojeda

Parole in Place Update: Biden Expands Eligibility For Undocumented Immigrant Spouses

President Biden recently expanded the parole in place program to include certain undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) expanded the parole in place (PIP) policy to include certain undocumented spouses of United States citizens who have been in the country for more than ten years, by June 17, the date of the announcement. 

PIP is a term used to describe the admission of immigrants who are already present in the United States and who have entered the country without inspection. In the past it has been granted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to certain relatives of military members and veterans, with the goal of minimizing family separation.

The new policy is expands eligibility to certain undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens who have been in the country for more than ten years, on a case-by-case basis. Those who are granted parole in place are considered to have lawful status for immigration purposes.

When was parole in place implemented?

PIP was implemented to “minimize periods of family separation and to facilitate adjustment of status within the United States by immigrants” who are relatives of U.S. military members and veterans, according to a USCIS memo published in 2013.

The policy memo, citing the discretion of the DHS secretary to grant parole to individuals wishing to enter the U.S., noted that while the authority to grant parole often applies to individuals outside the country, parole may also be granted to individuals already present in the United States without inspection. In 2016 USCIS updated its memorandum further clarifying its policy procedures and eligibility.

The term “without inspection” is used for undocumented migrants who have entered the country without a valid visa, and were not paroled by a Customs and Border Protection officer.

What changed with the parole in place program in 2024?

Under the Biden administration, DHS expanded the eligibility for parole in place to certain undocumented spouses of a U.S. citizen who have lived in the United States for at least 10 years, as of June 17, 2024, and have a legally valid marriage as of June 17, 2024. The policy was cited to promote the unity and stability of families. 

When does the new policy take effect? 

According to the announcement, DHS will roll out the details by the end of summer of 2024, noting that USCIS will reject any filings or individual requests received before the date when the application period begins later this summer.

Who is eligible for parole in place?

To be eligible to apply for Military PIP as of now, an applicant must be:

  • A son or daughter, spouse, widow(er), or parent of an active-duty member of the U.S. armed forces
  • An individual in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve
  • A military veteran (whether living or deceased, as long as he or she was not dishonorably discharged) who served in active duty or in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve

In 2016, USCIS expanded PIP eligibility to daughters and sons who are married and over the age of 21 and are children of U.S. citizens.

How to apply for parole In place

As of now, USCIS is only taking PIP applications for eligible military members. Applications for spouses will be accepted later in the summer at a to-be-announced date.

Eligible immigrants must submit Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, and write “Military PIP” under Box 2. If granted, the applicant will be allowed to lawfully remain in the United States in one-year increments, are protected from deportation, and are eligible to apply for a work permit. After three years, the person can also apply for legal permanent residence.

While PIP confers lawful status, it does not waive unlawful presence that may have been accrued while the applicant remained in the United States without status.

How does parole In place help with adjustment of status? 

For immigration purposes, those who are granted military PIP are considered to have a lawful entry and status while their PIP period is active, usually in increments of 1 year. Some pathways to legalizing an immigration status require an individual to have a legal inspection and be lawfully present in the United States to be eligible for a green card, in a process known as adjustment of status. 

If the person, however, had entered the country without status and is present in the U.S. unlawfully, they would be required to leave the country to undergo the process known as Consular Processing

However, leaving the country could pose problems, and trigger entry bans that could prevent the beneficiary from returning to the United States. See more about bans here.

Also Read: Advance Parole: How DACA Recipients Can Travel and Re-Enter the Country

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