By: Joseph G. Cella, Esq.
As of 2013, spouses, parents, and unmarried minor children of U.S. citizen members of the U.S. military (current or past) who are in the U.S. after an unlawful entry have a path to a U.S. green card that is not available to those without a military person in their family. Known as “parole in place” or “PIP” allows those who would otherwise qualify for a “green card” based on this close family relationship, to “adjust status” – that is, apply for lawful permanent residence or a green card – without leaving the United States, despite their past illegal entry and stay. However, PIP will not benefit individuals who are already in removal/deportation proceedings, or have a final order of removal/deportation against them.
Moreover, those unlawfully present individuals, who don’t qualify for PIP, may not adjust status to lawful permanent resident, but rather must leave the U.S. To process through a consulate abroad, quite possibly triggering a three-year or ten-year bar against re-entering the United States, pursuant to something known as the “unlawful presence bar”.
Here Is How PIP And Adjustment Of Status Work:
First: Eligibility for PIP must be determined. To be eligible for PIP approval, you must be the spouse, child, or parent of either: an Active Duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces
a current member of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, or
someone who has previously served in the U.S. Armed Forces or the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve. PIP eligibility isn’t automatic for people in these three groups, but they are the only ones who are eligible to apply for it under the new policy.
**Note: Parole is”discretionary”, meaning that the immigration service does not have to grant it even if all the listed requirements are met. Rather, anyone with a criminal conviction or other “serious adverse factors” may be denied. Therefore, someone with anything negative in his/her background would be well-advised to consult with an experienced immigration attorney before applying for PIP.
Second: The individual must figure out whether s/he is in one of the categories of family members who are otherwise eligible for lawful permanent residence as an “immediate relative,” of a U.S. Citizen, i.e. the spouse, unmarried child (under age 21), or parent of the U.S. citizen.
If so, a determination must then be made as to whether s/he is otherwise “inadmissible”. Inadmissibility means that the individual is barred from receiving a visa or green card based on his/her history of criminal, immigration, or security violations, communicable diseases, likelihood of needing public assistance (“welfare”), etc. Of those, PIP removes at least two grounds of inadmissibility that might block a person’s way back into the U.S., both of which are found in the Immigration and Nationality Act at INA § 212(a)(6)(A)(i).
The first ground of inadmissibility that PIP remedies is when any non-citizen is “present in the United States without being admitted [inspected by a border official] or paroled.” With a PIP approval, the alien will have been retroactively “paroled” into the United States.
The second ground of inadmissibility that PIP addresses is that of any alien who “arrives in the United States at any time or place other than as designated by the [Secretary of Homeland Security].”
**Note: As determining whether an individual is “otherwise inadmissible” is extremely complex, this is another area in which it is highly recommended that the individual consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
After having determined that you are eligible for PIP, an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, and are not otherwise inadmissible, you must prepare and submit the following to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):
- Form I-131, Application for Travel Document ;
- Evidence of the family relationship to the U.S. citizen military service person (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; and
- 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.
**Note: After USCIS has reviewed an application, it may approve it or decide to call the applicant in for an interview. Typically such interviews are short, even just at an intake window rather than in an officer’s office. Nevertheless, if the Service requires more information/documentation, it may conduct a more extensive interview and/or issue a Request For Evidence “RFE”. To avoid an interview and/or an RFE, it is imperative that the initial filing be properly and thoroughly documented.
Fourth and Finally:
Once the individual you has been granted Parole in Place, s/he can proceed with filing an I-130 Immigrant Visa Petition, Adjustment of Status Application, and Employment Authorization Application concurrently, allowing that person to receive his/her green card in the United States without ever having had to travel to a U.S. Consulate abroad.
If you think you may qualify for PIP, or have any other immigration questions, Please contact
CELLA & ASSOCIATES, LLC – US IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS
National Toll Free: 877.583.7080; www.cella-associates.com; firstname.lastname@example.org,
and schedule a in-office, telephonic, or Skype consultation.