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Shelle-Ann Simon

Shelle-Ann Simon

New USCIS humanitarian parole program for Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua

Up to 30,000 eligible individuals per month can participate in the program

Individuals who are nationals of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, or Venezuela (or their immediate family members) and who are outside the US may be considered for advance authorization to travel to the US and be legally admitted into the country through the new USCIS humanitarian parole process.

If approved, these individuals will be able to stay in the United States for an initial period of two years and may request work authorization (EAD). Their immediate relatives may also be eligible for the process.

The goal of this article is to provide a comprehensive overview of this new immigration process for eligible individuals who are interested in coming to the United States. While this guide was written by legal experts, it does not constitute legal advice. You should explore your immigration options with a lawyer to find the best course of action for your immigration case.

Table of Contents

    Key Points of the new USCIS Humanitarian Parole Process

    • The process grants humanitarian parole and travel authorization for up to 30,000 eligible individuals on a monthly basis (there used to be a cap on Venezuelan beneficiaries which has been removed).
    • Beneficiaries will be paroled into the United States and allowed to remain in the country for a period of two years.
    • Beneficiaries will be eligible to apply for Employment Authorization.

    Eligibility Criteria for Beneficiaries

    In order to be considered for the USCIS humanitarian parole process for nationals of Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua, potential beneficiaries must meet specific eligibility criteria. These are:

    • Be a national of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua or Venezuela, or
    • be an immediate family member (spouse, common-law partner, and/or unmarried child under the age of 21) traveling with an eligible national.
    • Have a U.S.-based supporter who has filed Form I-134A on your behalf and has been vetted and confirmed by USCIS.
    • Possess an unexpired passport that is valid for international travel.
    • Provide for your own commercial flight to an air U.S. port of entry (POE) and final U.S. destination.
    • Undergo and pass national security and public safety vetting.
    • Comply with all additional requirements (including vaccination requirements and other public health guidelines).
    • Prove that a grant of parole and a favorable exercise of discretion are merited because of a significant public benefit or urgent humanitarian reasons.
    Couple embracing each other at an airport. Under the new USCIS humanitarian parole process, beneficiaries may only enter the country via air travel.
    Beneficiaries can only enter the US via air travel.

    Who is Ineligible for the Process?

    An individual is ineligible for consideration under the parole process if they:

    • are a dual national or permanent resident of another country or hold refugee status in another country (unless said country is included in a similar parole process).
    • have been ordered removed from the U.S. within the past five years.
    • are subject to the bar of inadmissibility because of a prior removal order.
    • have crossed irregularly into the U.S. after the process was announced.
    • have crossed the Mexico or Panama border irregularly after the process was announced.
    • are under 18 and traveling on their own, being therefore considered an unaccompanied child.

    Additionally, USCIS may determine that an applicant does not merit a favorable exercise of discretion, which makes them ineligible. Failing national security and public safety vetting has the same effect.

    Please note:

    The dual citizenship/permanent residence/refugee status in a third country restriction does not apply to immediate family members of eligible nationals.

    Parole for unaccompanied children

    Unaccompanied children who are traveling to the United States to reunite with their parent or legal guardian may apply for the standard parole process using form I-131. In order to apply, they must have written permission for all adults who have legal custody of the child to travel to the US.

    Important dates:

    The process for Venezuelans was announced on October 19, 2022. The process for Cubans, Haitians, and Nicaraguans was announced on January 9, 2023.

    Requirements for Supporters

    Individuals who wish to support eligible candidates for the parole process must meet the following criteria:

    1. Be a US citizen/national/lawful permanent resident or have a lawful status such as Temporary Protected Status, asylum, or deferred action;
    2. Pass security and background checks for public safety, national security, human trafficking, and exploitation concerns;
    3. Demonstrate sufficient financial resources to support the beneficiary for the duration of their parole period.

    The supporter must initiate an online request and file a Form I-134A with USCIS for each beneficiary, including minors. There is no fee to file the form. The supporter will be vetted to ensure they are not exploiting or abusing the beneficiary and have the financial means to support them. The support includes providing housing, necessities, transportation, healthcare, and education as needed.

    Types of Supporters

    • Individuals filling independently
    • Two or more individuals filling together
    • Individuals filling on behalf of entities
    Entities as supporters

    As explained above, organizations, businesses, and entities can also provide support by filing a letter of commitment or other evidence of support when submitting Form I-134A on behalf of the beneficiary. If the level of support demonstrated by the entity is sufficient, the individual supporter does not need to submit their personal financial information.

    Humanitarian Parole Process Steps

    Beneficiaries cannot apply for the process by themselves. A US-based supporter must start the process by submitting the corresponding I-134 form with USCIS. Here’s an overview of the process:

    1. A U.S.-based supporter submits Form I-134A to USCIS on behalf of the beneficiary to initiate the process, including information about the beneficiary and contact details.
    2. USCIS vets the supporter to ensure adequate financial support and prevent exploitation.
    3. The beneficiary confirms biographic information in myUSCIS and demonstrates that they meet all eligibility requirements (including public health requirements, which are required to obtain travel authorization).
    4. The beneficiary submits biographic information and a photo into the CBP One mobile app.
    5. The beneficiary receives advance travel authorization from CBP at the agency’s discretion. The authorization is valid for 90 days but does not guarantee entry or parole. The beneficiary must arrive at a port of entry via air travel.
    6. Upon arrival at a port of entry, the beneficiary undergoes additional screening and biometric vetting by CBP.
    7. CBP grants discretionary humanitarian parole on a case-by-case basis for up to two years, subject to health and vetting requirements.

    After Being Paroled into the Country

    Obtaining Employment Authorization

    After being paroled into the country, a beneficiary is eligible to apply for Employment Authorization from USCIS. They can do so by submitting form I-765 using the (c)(11) category code and paying the required fee (otherwise they can request a waiver).

    Obtaining a Social Security Number

    When requesting employment authorization, beneficiaries have the option to request a Social Security Number (SSN), which is used to report wages to the government. If you failed to request your SSN when requesting your EAD, you can request it separately by following the instructions on the Social Security Administration’s website.

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