New Family Reunification Parole Process for Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras
Updated: Sep 12
The Department of Homeland Security or DHS recently announced a new family reunification parole process for beneficiaries of a legal permanent resident petition also known as an I-130 petition or green card petition to allow these beneficiaries to enter the United States on a case-by-case basis for a period of three years while they wait to apply for lawful permanent resident status.
Green card beneficiaries who are applying for the green card through a United States Consulate abroad go through a two step process known as consular processing which begins with the filing of the I-130 petition. We discuss the consular processing method in applying for a green card here.
If a green card beneficiary is approved for family reunification parole, their entry into the United States on family reunification parole will allow for the beneficiary to apply for the green card from within the United States through the Adjustment of Status process when the the priority date for their I-130 petition becomes current. We discuss the Adjustment of Status process here. We also discuss priority dates here.
Family Reunification Parole Eligibility
To be eligible for Family Reunification Parole, a green card beneficiary can be the parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter or sibling of a United States Citizen that files an I-130 petition for a green card or the parent, spouse or unmarried adult son or daughter of a Legal Permanent Resident that files an I-130 petition for a green card.
Spouses, or children of a beneficiary petitioned by a United States Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident may also qualify for Family Reunification Parole as the derivative beneficiary of the green card petition.
All beneficiaries for the new family reunification parole process must be a national of Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras.
Beneficiaries that have entered irregularly into the United States, between ports of entry after July 10, 2023, interdicted at sea after July 10, 2023 or have been ordered removed from the United States within the prior five years or is subject to a bar based on a prior removal are disqualified from the parole process.
Additional eligibility requirements for Family Reunification Parole include:
A written invitation from the Department of State to file the form I-134A by the petitioner to be a supporter to initiate the parole process. This invitation is required and DHS will reject a form I-134A application without such an invitation.
The green card beneficiary must be outside the United States.
The green card beneficiary must not have had an immigrant visa issued at the time the invitation was issued.
The green card beneficiary must have an unexpired passport valid for international travel.
the green card beneficiary must receive a medical exam by a panel physician and undergo a background check while also demonstrating that they merit a favorable exercise of discretion.
Family Reunification Parole Application Process.
Invitation to apply for Family Reunification Parole mailed to petitioner.
After USCIS has approved the I-130 petition, DHS at some point will review the case and determine whether to send an invitation by mail to the I-130 petitioner to allow the petitioner to request to be a supporter in the family reunification parole process on behalf of the green card beneficiary. The parole process can only be initiated if DHS mails the invitation which could be at a time estimated to be close to when the priority may become current.
Petitioner submits form I-134A online.
A separate form I-134A is submitted online for each beneficiary by the I-130 petitioner through an online web portal. The petitioner will provide information and evidence establishing the relationship with the beneficiary and that the petitioner is financially able to support the beneficiary as well as agreeing to provide financial support for each beneficiary. The petitioner will also be subject to a background check to verify that the petitioner is financially able to support the beneficiary.
Beneficiary provides information to support the parole request.
Once USCIS reviews and confirms the I-134A, the beneficiary will be notified by email with instructions to create an online account with USCIS where the beneficiary will then confirm biographical information and attest to meeting the eligibility requirements including the requirement to have performed a medical exam by a panel physician. The form DS-2054 medical exam will need to also be provided to the Customs and Border Protection, "CBP" officer at a port of entry.
Beneficiary then submits a request through the CBP One mobile application.
Once the beneficiary confirms the information and completes the attestation requirements for the I-134A, the beneficiary will receive instructions to access the CBP one mobile application to proceed to enter certain biographical information and provide a photo.
If Family Reunification Parole is approved, the beneficiary will receive advance authorization to travel to the United States.
After submitting the request through the mobile application, CBP will decide whether to approve the request and if approved inform the beneficiary through the online account whether it has issued the travel authorization document to travel to the United States. If approved, the travel authorization is valid for 90 days and it should be noted that the travel authorization does not guarantee entry into the United States at a port of entry since parole is a discretionary determination made by the CBP officer at the port of entry.
Seeking Family Reunification Parole at the port of entry.
At the port of entry, the beneficiary will undergo additional screening including fingerprint biometric vetting to determine whether the beneficiary poses a national security or public safety threat. CBP will consider a beneficiary’s previous immigration history, encounters with U.S. government entities, and the results of screening and vetting when determining eligibility to be issued advance authorization to travel to the United States, as well as when determining, on a case-by-case basis, whether to grant parole to the beneficiary at the port of entry.
After parole entry.
The beneficiary will be granted a period of parole for up to three years and be allowed to apply for work authorization submitting form I-765 to USCIS.
Other issues of note.
As a condition of parole, the beneficiary will be required to report his physical address in the United States and any change in address within 10 days of the change.
Parole terminates if the beneficiary departs the United States or when the parole period expires. At this point it is not clear if an extension can be requested which likely means that an invitation to the petitioner to start the parole process will likely be made at a time it is estimated the priority date for the I-130 petition is close to becoming current within three years.
Traveling outside the United States would only be permitted if the beneficiary applies for and is granted another advanced travel authorization before departing the United States. Departing the United States without this authorization likely means the end of your parole status.
It is expected that once the priority date is current, the petitioner and beneficiary will proceed to the last step to apply for the green card through the adjustment of status process by submitting the form I-485 to USCIS.
Contact us to help you understand the family unity parole program or to help you in making the application if your case has received an invitation request and your family member is outside the United States. Please contact us as well if you would like to know more about the eligibility requirements to apply for a green card for a family member.