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Immigration Law Blog

Saturday, February 15, 2014

American Immigration Laws and Humanitarian Parole

A foreign national threatened by a humanitarian crisis in his/her home country may sometimes be allowed entry into the U.S. via a mechanism called humanitarian parole.

Humanitarian parole is defined as a legal status for persons “who do not meet the technical requirements for a visa but who may be permitted to enter the United States for a temporary period of time… on an urgent humanitarian basis.”  A second criterion (in addition to an “urgent humanitarian need”) for approval is for the admitted individual to provide a “significant benefit to the public if admitted to enter the U.S.”

“Humanitarian crisis” is not defined by the USCIS but can involve a wide range of circumstances. Humanitarian parole is most often granted to individuals seeking legal permission to enter the U.S. to:

  • Escape from an imminent threat in the applicant’s country of origin
  • Attend a court proceeding in the U.S.
  • Visit a sick or dying family member who resides in the U.S.
  • Attend a funeral in the U.S.
  • Receive medical care in the U.S. that is not available in the applicant’s country of origin

Who Is Eligible to Apply for Humanitarian Parole?

Any foreign national can apply for admittance into the U.S. via humanitarian parole. There are several disadvantages to humanitarian parole, however, when compared to other ways of admissions.  These disadvantages include a very low rate of approval as well as the temporary nature of the humanitarian parole as most humanitarian parole admittance periods are less than one year.  Because of these disadvantages, humanitarian parole is most often used as a "last resort" option by foreign nationals who don’t qualify under other admittance options.

 

Application Process

Humanitarian parole applicants face an arduous application process. Complex forms must be completed and a detailed explanation of the proposed visit to the U.S. must be provided. For instance, an application for humanitarian parole based on a need for medical care must include:

  • A detailed explanation of the medical diagnosis and prognosis from the providing U.S. physician, as well as an explanation of why treatment cannot be obtained in the prospective parolee’s home country or other country
  • A letter from the U.S. physician addressing the cost of the treatment and how the parolee will pay for the treatment
  • A detailed explanation of how the prospective parolee’s housing, transportation and other basic needs will be met and paid for

Even when all applications and explanations are provided, the chance for acceptance is low: only about 250 humanitarian parole cases are accepted by the U.S. each year.

How Do I Go About Applying for Humanitarian Parole?

Due to the difficulties of successfully applying for humanitarian parole, it is recommended that prospective parolees work with an experienced U.S. immigration attorney throughout the application process. 


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