Parole in Place for Military Families

Spouses, parents, and children of members of the Armed Forces are eligible for “Parole in Place.” The Secretary of Homeland Security has discretion to “parole” an alien for “urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit”on a discretionary basis. Discretion means that that DHS has the freedom to decide, even if the person fits the usual qualifications. It has been determined that to “parole” the spouses, children, and parents of members of the Armed Forces is a significant public benefit, meaning that DHS will usually its discretion favorably.1

Photo by Stockbyte/Stockbyte / Getty Images

Photo by Stockbyte/Stockbyte / Getty Images

Who qualifies?

Spouses, children, and parents of Active Duty Members of the U.S. Armed Forces or Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, and Former Members of the U.S. Armed Forces or Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve may apply for Parole in Place. In general, if the only inadmissibility grounds of the qualifying family member are based on unlawful entry and/or overstay, you may be eligible for Parole in Place. You must also meet the discretionary qualifications, meaning that you have to have good moral character. You cannot have certain immigration violations. Some criminal convictions can also disqualify you. If you think you or your loved one may meet any one of these disqualifying circumstances, contact an experienced immigration attorney.

When and why would you use parole in place?

When foreign nationals who entered unlawfully (without inspection) are eligible to apply for their green card, they generally are required to leave the United States and apply in their home country. This process can be lengthy as oftentimes the immigrant is required to remain outside of the U.S. for several years based on unlawful presence accrued in the United States. However, if the person can gain a lawful entry or parole to the United States, then they can apply for the green card here in the U.S. and avoid potentially years of separation.

USCIS released a Policy Memorandum in November 2013 stating that “[m]ilitary preparedness can potentially be adversely affected if active members of the U.S. Armed Forces … who can quickly be called into active duty, worry about the immigration status of their spouses, parents, and children.”2 To assist military families, the benefit of a parole without leaving the U.S. (thus parole in place) was authorized. “Parole in Place” is a game-changer for military spouses, parents, and children. Because of the serious effects that concern over the immigration status of a loved one can have on the military member, parole in place is often granted to these qualifying family members. Parole in Place has the legal effect of giving those who qualify a lawful entry into the United States, thereby enabling them to apply for their green card without having to return to their home country for processing or to wait the several years outside of the U.S. to pay the penalty for their overstay and unlawful entry.

How do I apply?

DHS does not charge a processing fee for these applications. Application processes and procedures vary from place to place. Some locations require an interview, others do not. Some locations want the application personally handed in, others accept it by mail. Our attorneys have handled several of these applications in Utah, Oklahoma, and Texas and can assist you with your application. To learn more, contact us at 801-888-9186.

1, 2 See U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Policy Memorandum, November 15, 2013. Parole of Spouses, Children and Parents of Active Duty Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, and Former Members of the U.S. Armed Forces or Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve and the Effect of Parole on Inadmissibility under Immigration and Nationality Act § 212(a)(6)(A)(i)

Zach Young