Parole in Place for Families of Those Serving in the U.S. Armed Forces
Parole in Place for the Family of U.S. Military - In most cases, individuals who enter the United States without inspection cannot apply for adjustment of status from within the United States even if they have married a U.S. citizen.
Usually, they must return to their home country where they apply for and are interviewed for admission into the United States. Known as consular processing, this ordeal can lead to very lengthy family separations and unbearable financial costs.
Parole in place is a process that allows immediate relatives of those serving in active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, or who previously served in the U.S. Armed Forces or Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve to remain in the United States.
If parole in place is granted, the spouse may then be eligible to file for adjustment of status from within the United States, and if approved, lawful permanent residency would be extended.
Applying for Parole in Place
Parole in place is granted by the District Director of the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) office having jurisdiction over the family’s place of residence. The relief is considered on a case by case basis and is highly discretionary.
Despite the publication of a USCIS memo detailing the availability of parole-in-place, many of the application guidelines will likely vary from office to office. Applicants typically begin the process by filing Form I-131 with the local USCIS office. There is no filing fee.
According to the memo, at a minimum, an applicant will need to provide the following:
- A completed Form I-131, Application for Travel Document
- Evidence of the family relationship
- Evidence that the applicant's family member is an active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces, the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, or an individual who previously served in the U.S. Armed Forces or the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve
- Two (2) identical passport-style photographs
- Evidence of any favorable discretionary factors the applicant wishes to be considered
Common documents that may be required (but not always) to be filed with the I-131 include:
- A hardship letter drafted in the name of the service member
- The service member’s birth certificate
- The spouse’s birth certificate
- The birth certificates of any children
- The marriage certificate
- Evidence of a bona fide marriage (bills, lease agreements, mortgages, photos, affidavits from family members and friends, mailings, etc.)
- The family member’s military family member identification card
- A copy of Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS) enrollment documentation for the family member
- Two original passport photos of the family member
- A copy of any deployment orders for the service member
- Any additional documents substantiating the case for hardship
When parole in place is granted, the family member will receive a parole document in the form of an I-94 card. Upon receipt, he or she may proceed with the next steps necessary to adjust status which may vary depending on the local USCIS office.
The Risks Associated with Parole in Place
Of course, by applying for parole in place, the undocumented status of the family member is brought to the attention of the federal government. If parole in place is not granted, there is always the possibility one could be placed in removal (deportation) proceedings.
For this reason, it is absolutely essential to be completely forthcoming about your immigration and criminal histories with your attorney or representative. You should inform your attorney of all arrests, charges and convictions. You should also be up front about the number of times you have attempted to enter the United States and whether or not you have ever committed any immigration violations.
Only after considering such information can an attorney accurately determine whether or not you are an ideal candidate for parole in place, as well as the possible consequences if your application is denied.
As with everything in immigration, there are no guarantees of success. Parole in place has not always been applied consistently by USCIS field offices throughout the country. In addition, like most forms of immigration relief, officers have wide discretion to approve or deny a request for parole in place. As a result, even if you qualify, the process will not necessarily be easy or successful.
Parole in place can provide a great benefit for the families of those associated with the U.S. military. If granted, it can help reduce the stress associated with the immigration process suffered by eliminating the necessity of a lengthy family separation. It can also reduce the uncertainty that is so prevalent in the homes of families with undocumented family members.
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