Sometimes, someone who has been waiting for a visa or another immigration status will want or need to travel abroad, but they may not have a passport or other valid status that will let them back in the United States upon return. Alternatively, sometimes someone in your family may need to be let into the U.S. quickly, especially in cases such as family emergencies. In both of these situations, the remedy is called parole - the latter is humanitarian parole, while the former is called advance parole. Both can be difficult - but not impossible - to get.
Advance Parole (AP) is exclusively for those who are not in legal immigration status - for example, those who have been granted asylum or refugee status, those who are in the middle of adjusting status, and those who have been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS). In some cases, it may be able to be granted for those who still have an asylum claim pending before the courts. AP allows someone who belongs to any of these groups, or a few select others, to be able to travel abroad and return to the country to continue waiting for their official immigration status to vest.
AP is necessary because, without it, anyone who lacks valid status essentially cannot leave the United States for any reason, no matter how serious. They would have no documents to show upon arriving back in the country and would be turned around in all but the most unusual cases. This is a problem not only because they may have a claim to legal status, but also because in some cases, spending too long out of the country will make U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) determine that you have abandoned your application for status entirely. USCIS states explicitly that before leaving the U.S., anyone without legal status must have already been approved for advance parole.
While AP is required for those seeking to leave and re-enter the United States, humanitarian parole (HP) is for those seeking entry to the U.S. due to some unforeseen emergency, such as an ill family member. Sole discretion as to whether or not to grant parole lies with the USCIS officer reviewing the request, and the only two factors that are required to be considered are whether the beneficiary “merits a favorable exercise of discretion,” and whether or not “urgent humanitarian” or “significant public benefit” reasons exist for the beneficiary to be in the United States.
It is also important to keep in mind that even after going through the process of obtaining HP, the ultimate authority as to whether or not to parole someone into the U.S. lies with Customs & Border Patrol (CBP), which oversees ports of entry. While the majority of these interactions will go as planned, it is not out of the question that CBP will unjustly sometimes detain someone with a valid HP document. If this happens to you, the best recourse is to contact an attorney as soon as humanly possible, as HP is not a visa, and even some CBP officers are unaware of what it grants and what it does not.
If you are experiencing a family emergency or another reason why you desperately need to travel, parole may be an option for you, depending on whether you need to enter or leave the United States. Either way, contacting a passionate Chicago immigration lawyer can help answer any questions you may have. Mevorah Law Offices, LLC is experienced in these types of cases, and we are here to help. Call us today at 630-932-9100 for a free consultation.
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