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Immigration Deportation Proceedings throughout

Long Island and the New York Area

Parole in Place for Military Spouses and Families


Parole in place (or “PIP”) is a unique immigration program for non-citizen immediate family members of United States military (active personnel or veterans). It allows those family members who are in the United States unlawfully to apply for a US green card, without having to leave the country.


Parole in Place is Indeed Unique Immigration Benefit

Usually, someone who enters the United States without inspection (unlawfully) cannot apply for adjustment of status from within the United States even if they marry a US citizen. They must leave the United States and depart for their home country, where they will apply for a green card.


However, it is not as easy as it sounds. Since he/she entered the US unlawfully, they might have unlawful presence issues, need a waiver, or they might even be barred for 3 or 5 years if they were in the United States unlawfully for too long on an unauthorized stay.


Applying for a green card overseas is known as consular processing. This is a stressful, uncertain ordeal, because it leads to lengthy family separations with significant financial and emotional costs. If parole in place is granted, the immediately family member is eligible to apply for adjustment of status within the United States. If adjustment of status is granted, the immediate family member will be granted lawful permanent residency (green card).


Why do relatives of US Armed Forces get this special privilege?

In partnership with the Department of Defense, The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recognizes the concern within the DoD that some active members of the US Armed Forces face stress and anxiety because of the immigration status of their family members. This stress and anxiety can potentially adversely effect military preparedness. These active duty personnel are serving and sacrificing for our nation, and we as a nation owe a debt to our service men and women.


Similarly, veterans have served and sacrificed for our nation and we owe them a duty to support and care for them. They face the same stress and anxiety about being separated from their loved ones for an indefinite amount of time, and this is unacceptable.

Military personnel serve or have served selflessly and courageously. It is only right their spouses, parents or children are treated with respect, allowed to stay in the US and be with their loved ones.


Statutory Authority for Parole in Place.


The Secretary of USCIS has discretionary authority, on a case by case basis, to “parole” individuals for “urgent and humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.” Usually this section is used to permit aliens outside of the United States to come into the US, in this case parole is granted to aliens already physically present in the US (parole in place).

Who is eligible for parole in place


Parole in place is available for spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents of active members of the US Armed Forces, individuals in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, or Individuals who previously served in the US Armed Forces or the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve.


You also have to be otherwise eligible for a green card. That means you cannot be inadmissible for other reasons. Parole in place removes only two grounds of inadmissibility contained under INA 212(a)(6)(A)(I). Essentially, non citizens who entered the US without inspection or parole. With PIP approval, you are “paroled” in. The second ground of inadmissibility covers those in the process of entering the US without inspection. PIP covers both.


However, PIP does not remove other grounds of inadmissibility, and if there are other grounds in inadmissibility present, you may have trouble applying for a green card. If you think there is a possibility there are other grounds, you should definitely speak with an experienced immigration attorney because the consequences of a rejected application might be serious.


Parole in place is discretionary


Generally, parole in place is to be granted sparingly. The Secretary of USCIS has discretionary power to grant PIP relief. However, the fact the person applying for PIP is a spouse, child or parent of an active duty member or veteran of the US Armed Forces or Ready Reserve weights heavily in favor of granting parole in place.


Apply for “Parole in Place” first


You cannot apply for your green card right away (adjustment of status). It will be rejected. Your unlawful entry into the US must be taken care of first with a successful parole in place application. To do so, submit the following to USCIS:


Required Documents

·       Form 131, Application for Travel Document

·       Evidence of your family relationship to the US citizen military serviceperson (copy of birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc.)

·       Evidence that your family member is indeed a current or former member of the US Armed Forces or Ready Reserve (DD Form 1173 works here)

·       Two identical passport style photos of yourself

·       Evidence of any favorable discretionary factors that you want to be considered.

Optional But Recommended Documents

·       Hardship letter drafted in the name of the service member

·       Evidence of a bonafide marriage

·       Any documents supporting the case of hardship for the service member


If approved, you will receive an I-94 card. Once received, you can proceed to apply for an adjustment of status (green card).

Risks associated with parole in place


By applying for parole in place, you are notifying the US government of your undocumented status. There is always the possibility of deportation proceedings if your parole in place application is not granted.


So you must be absolutely truthful, and complete when discussing your immigration and criminal history with your attorney or representative. You need to disclose all arrests, charges, convictions, false information on applications etc. You must also disclose the number of times you attempted to enter the US, or committed any other immigration violation. Only then will an attorney be able to determine whether you should apply for parole in place or not.


Can PIP be Requested if a Person is Already in Removal (deportation) Proceedings?

PIP is possible if you are already in removal proceedings. USCIS has jurisdiction to decide adjustment applications even when removal proceedings have initiated.


Is an Immigration Attorney Recommended for Parole in Place Applications?

You are notifying the federal government of your unlawful presence in the United States. You are an immediate family member of a US Armed Forces or Ready Reserve, so there is a great deal of appreciation for the service member’s sacrifice and service. However, that does not guarantee you PIP relief. Identifying grounds of inadmissibility is the most important step in this procedure, and an immigration attorney will quickly recognize these grounds and advise you whether to apply or not.

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