Parole is a legal fiction that allows for the physical entry of an individual into the United States without actually "admitting" him or her into the country. Parole is commonly used to allow otherwise inadmissible individuals to enter the country for specific reasons, for a limited period of time and usually involves a degree of urgency.

An individual may be paroled into the country at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), whether it be by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) or by U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).  Generally, successful cases for parole involved strong humanitarian reasons or reasons of significant public benefit. 

While each parole application is judged on a case by case basis, parole requests that do not rely upon a strong humanitarian need or a public benefit will almost certainly be denied.   DHS scrutinizes applications for parole carefully because the agency does not want the process to be used to circumvent other immigration laws used to keep certain individuals out of the country. 

Therefore, foreign nationals who are seeking to be paroled into the U.S. should submit a comprehensive packet to the appropriate agency (whether it be CBP or USCIS) regarding the reasons for their inadmissibility  and describe their urgent need to enter the U.S., together with supporting documentation.  Our firm has successfully assisted foreign nationals before both agencies in successfully obtaining paroles to attend to their urgent matters in the U.S. 

Under What Circumstances Have Others Successfully Sought Parole?

1. Humanitarian Reasons (Waiver Pending)

The example below illustrates how an inadmissible foreign national can apply for parole to enter the U.S. to tend to an urgent family need while their non-immigrant waiver application is pending:

John, a citizen of Canada, enjoyed traveling back and forth from the U.S. and Canada, until an old conviction made him inadmissible (the issue arose during John's NEXUS appointment). Since his conviction nearly 30 years ago, John had wintered in Florida for many years. John's mother, Rose, also has a home near John in Florida. At the beginning of each winter, John would accompany Rose down to Florida where both would stay until summer. Rose is advanced in years and suffers with severe bouts of depression, so John would check in on his mother on a daily basis. John was Rose's sole source of support: he maintained her house, ran errands for her, and took her to doctor's appointments. Unfortunately, John's sudden knowledge of his inadmissibility prevented him from joining his mother in Florida. John quickly submitted a waiver application, but even the fastest processing time would still keep him away from his mother for months. Based on the facts of John's case (i.e the health and well-being of his mother, his recent knowledge of his inadmissibility and prompt filing of a waiver application), he can make a strong case for a parole. It is unlikely that John will be able to get a parole for the entire winter; however, he may request multiple paroles that span the duration of his mothers stay in the U.S., which would allow him to enter for several weeks at a time.

2. Permission to Wind Down Affairs

The example below illustrates how an inadmissible foreign national can use parole to enter the U.S. to wind down business or personal affairs after suddenly becoming inadmissible to the U.S.:

Joan, a Canadian citizen, was living in the U.S. without status for over 20 years. Joan was unmarried, but had a 15-year-old United States citizen child. While living in the U.S., she had bought a home, paid taxes, and had a successful career. After visiting family in Canada one summer, Joan sought to reenter the U.S. at a bridge on the U.S./Canada border. After being questioned, the immigration officer uncovered that she had been living in U.S. without proper documentation, and subsequently an expedited removal order was issued against her. While this example highlights the disturbing trend of expedited removal orders being issued against Canadians, it is not uncommon. The key issue in this example, however, is that Joan is now barred from returning to her life in the U.S. for several years, and most importantly, to her son.

Parole will allow Joan, who is now inadmissible, to reenter the country to begin to wind down her life in the U.S. (i.e. sell her home and/or vehicles, transfer to a Canadian division with her employer if possible, etc.). Paroles are determined on a case by case basis, but Joan appears to have strong equities that will likely play in her favor. 

3. Urgent Need to Enter While Waiver is Pending

The processing time for certain waivers ranges from six to eight months. In some situations, a foreign national may have an urgent family or business need that requires them to enter the U.S. while his or her waiver is pending. Paroles provides a cure for this situation by allowing the foreign national into the U.S. to tend to that urgent need. However, parole would not be applicable in those situations where the foreign national has a need to continue and/or begin their employment with a U.S. employer.