In 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) issued a memorandum establishing a policy known as “Parole in Place” (“PIP”) for immediate family members of military-service members. PIP was established as a means to honor military-service members who have sacrificed for and served our country. USCIS has committed to making the adjustment of status process easier for immediate family members of military-service members through PIP. PIP provides an opportunity for immediate family members who entered the United States unlawfully, but otherwise qualify for adjustment of status based on an immediate family relationship, to apply for a green card from within the United States.

Who is Eligible for Parole in Place?

Immediate family members – spouses, unmarried child (under age 21), or parents – of U.S. citizen military-service members may apply for PIP. The military-service members must be currently serving or have been honorable discharged as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, Selected Reserve, or Ready Reserve.

How do I Apply for Parole in Place?

To apply for PIP, an applicant must submit Form I-131, Application for Travel Document to USCIS. There is no filing fee for Form I-131 when applying for PIP. The applicant should also submit evidence of his or her relationship to the military-service member, the military-member’s military status, and evidence of why his or her application should be approved.

After USCIS has received the application, the applicant will be scheduled for a biometric appointment to have their fingerprints and photo captured. USCIS may also schedule an interview for the applicant. If a PIP application is approved, the military-service member can file a petition for the individual granted PIP, if one has not already been filed. The applicant can also move forward with filing and application for adjustment of status.

What Benefit does Parole in Place Provide?

When an individual applies for adjustment of status, USCIS considers several grounds of inadmissibility, or ineligibility, to determine whether the application should be approved.

A grant or approval of PIP eliminates two grounds of inadmissibility for immediate family members. The first inadmissibility ground applies to any noncitizen “present in the U.S. without being admitted or paroled.” The second inadmissibility ground relates to any noncitizen who “arrives in the United States at any time or place other than as designated by [immigration].” If applicable, these inadmissibility grounds render an individual ineligible for adjustment of status for having entered the United States unlawfully.

However, a grant or approval of PIP deems an immediate family member retroactively “paroled” into the United States. In short, this means an applicant’s unlawful entry is now considered a one-time approved entry. Since the individual is deemed to have entered lawfully, he or she may now be eligible for adjustment of status.

This is particularly important for individuals who may face bars for unlawful presence. If granted PIP, the applicant may not need to consular process abroad or need to obtain a waiver of their unlawful presence.

It is important to note PIP only alleviates these two grounds of inadmissibility; it does not remove additional inadmissibility issues, such as those associated with criminal convictions or other security concerns. Additionally, a decision to grant PIP is discretionary, which means USCIS will consider both positive and negative factors in each case and from there, decide whether to approve it.

For information on your specific situation, we recommend you use our contact form to schedule an appointment with our office. We would be glad to help you determine the best option for you and your family.