Individuals who want to enter the U.S temporarily for emergency or humanitarian reasons but are unable to obtain a visa may apply to the Department of Homeland Security to be granted parole.
The application is filed on Form I-131 Application for Travel Document and must be supported by an affidavit of support to guarantee that the parolee will not become a public charge.
The application may be filed by the prospective parolee, a sponsoring relative, an attorney or any other interested individual or organization. The application will be adjudicated within 90 to 120 days. Extremely urgent cases may be processed in a few days.
The parole may be granted for a period of time corresponding to the duration of the urgent situation. The maximum time allowed is one year. The individual must depart from the U.S. before the expiration of his/her parole status otherwise he/she would be deportable. If more time is needed, the parolee may submit a request for reparole to extend his/her stay.
The application must include a detailed explanation of the emergency or humanitarian situation, the length of time needed, and the reasons why he/she cannot obtain a visa. If a visa application was previously denied, a copy of the denial should be submitted.
If the application is for medical reasons, a letter from a medical doctor is required, indicating the diagnosis and prognosis. Also included should be information on how long the treatment is expected to last, how much the treatment will cost and who will pay for it and why the treatment is not available in his/her home country or in a neighboring country.
Other relevant evidence such as copy of any approved immigrant visa petition, tax returns, etc. should also be submitted.
The USCIS has emphasized that parole should not be used to avoid regular visa-issuing procedures or to bypass immigration procedures. In a recent report by the US Government Accountability Office, 76% of the applications submitted within the 6-year period in the report were denied.
About 57% of those denied were due to the failure to exhaust other avenues of immigration available to the applicants. About 64% of the almost 9000 humanitarian parole applications adjudicated in the 6-year period were for family reunification or medical emergency.
An example of a medical emergency is the case of a 7-year old boy with a congenital heart defect who came to the U.S. with her mother for free open heart surgery.
An example of family reunification is the case of a baby born after the parents became immigrants but prior to their entry into the U.S. An I-130 relative petition was filed immediately after the baby was born but could not be granted an immigrant visa because of the unavailability of a visa number. A humanitarian parole was granted to the baby for one year.