Parole in Place for Military Families
Parole in place (PIP)is a unique program for certain undocumented family members of U.S. military personnel (active or veterans). It allows those non-citizen family members who are in the U.S. unlawfully to apply for a green card, without having to leave the country. This is a significant benefit that’s not available to family members of civilians.
The Problem Addressed by Parole in Place
Under current immigration law, people who entered the United States without inspection (unlawfully) generally cannot apply for permanent residence (green card) from inside the U.S., a process known as adjustment of status. In these cases, the undocumented family member cannot obtain a green card unless he or she returns to the home country for consular processing. However, in many cases, that person will trigger a three- to ten-year bar as a penalty for the previous unlawful presence. This policy has been criticized because it forces the family to split up and generally makes immigration extraordinarily difficult after an unlawful presence. For members of the U.S. armed forces, these scenarios can create stress and anxiety that adversely affects military preparedness.
Parole in Place Preserves Family Unity
Parole in place attempts to avoid the separation of military families by allowing certain family members to adjust status while in the United States. Non-citizen spouses, parents, and unmarried minor children (under age 21) of U.S. citizen members of the U.S. military (current or past) who are in the U.S. without lawful status can be considered for the PIP program.
Specifically, parole in place removes two grounds for inadmissibility. First, a non-citizen must be physically present in the United States through a lawful entry (e.g. inspected by a immigration official at a port of entry or paroled). Additionally, a non-citizen must not arrive in the United States at any time or place other than as designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security. Parole in place retroactively paroles the individual and effectively resolves these issues. USCIS issued a 9-page memo in November 2013 that details the parole in place policy. Learn how the parole in place policy saved Sergeant Jimenez’s wife from deportation.
Eligibility for Parole in Place
Only immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen member of the U.S. military are eligible. The U.S. citizen in the military must be one of the following:
- An active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces
- A current member of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve
- Someone that has previously served in the U.S. Armed Forces or Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve
The immediate family member that wants to be granted parole in place must be one of the following:
- Unmarried child (under age 21)
How to Apply for Parole in Place
You must obtain parole in place before you can begin the process of adjusting status. If you do not first get the parole in place granted, your application to adjust status will almost certainly be denied. First, prepare Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. You will also be required to include the following items with your application:
- Evidence of the family relationship to the U.S. citizen military service member (such as a copy of a birth or marriage certificate)
- Evidence that the U.S. citizen family member is either an Active Duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces, in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, or previously served in the U.S. Armed Forces or the Selected Reserve or the Ready Reserve, such as a photocopy of the military identification card (DD Form 1173; make copies of both the front and back)
- Two identical, color, passport-style photographs of the non-citizen applicant
- Evidence of any additional favorable discretionary factors that you wish to have USCIS take into account, such as letters from community leaders or teachers showing your involvement in volunteer activities, personal education, or your children’s education
We recommend the assistance of an immigration attorney when preparing the Form I-131 application.
Parole in Place FAQs
Q: Who should not request Parole in Place?
A: A grant of parole in place will only provide evidence that you have been paroled so that you adjust status without returning to your home country. It does not fix other immigration problems you may have. For example, if you ever ignored a deportation or removal order or have been arrested, PIP will not fix these issues. Consult an experienced immigration attorney.
Q: Can Parole in Place be used for other family members?
A: No, parole in place can only be used for the U.S. citizen’s spouse, parents or unmarried minor children (under 21). PIP will not, in most cases, provide adjustment eligibility to non-citizens in the preference categories.
Q: Is Parole in Place given to everyone that applies?
A: Parole in place is not guaranteed. It is a discretionary policy, and USCIS will review each individual’s situation on a case-by-case basis.
Q: On Form I-131, under “Part 2, Application Type,” which box should be checked to indicate that I’m applying for Parole in Place?
A: The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) suggests that applicants check off box 1d (“I am applying for an Advance Parole Document to allow me to return to the United States after temporary foreign travel”) under “Part 2, Application Type,” and write “Parole in Place” in red ink next to the description. Then, under Part 4, Information About Your Proposed Travel, Question 1a, Purpose of Trip, the applicant would write “Parole in Place (PIP)” again on this line. To answer Part 4, Question 1b, List the countries you intend to visit, the applicant should write “N/A.”