• Parole In Place for Family Members of U.S. Military Service Members and Former U.S. Military Service Members
  • January 14, 2016 | Author: Alexander Joseph Segal
  • Law Firm: The Law Offices of Grinberg & Segal, PLLC - New York Office
  • Introduction

    The Attorney General has limited discretionary authority to grant parole to an alien who is in the United States without an immigration status. This exercise of parole is called “parole in place.” A United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Memorandum (“the Memo”)[1] released on November 15, 2015, formalized a process for granting parole in place to family members of certain active duty military service members and former active duty service members. Parole in place waives the entry without inspection ground of inadmissibility and allows the alien to begin the adjustment of status process. This article will provide a brief overview of the parole in place procedures set forth in the Memo.

    Statutory Background

    The Attorney General has limited discretionary authority to grant both parole to an alien abroad and parole in place to an alien in the United States. Section 212(d)(5)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) allows for the Attorney General, in his or her discretion, to grant parole for either urgent humanitarian reasons or if he or she determines that there is a significant public benefit supporting the grant of parole.

    Parole in Place for Family Members of Military Service Members

    The Memo applies to the parent(s), spouse, and child(ren) of:
    • Active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces
    • Former members of the U.S. Armed Forces
    • Active duty members of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve
    • Former members of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve.
    Prior to the issuance of the Memo, parole in place was often granted as a matter of discretion for such individuals as serving a significant public benefit. The Memo explains that favorable discretion should ordinarily be exercised for qualifying family members of persons in the above four categories. However, serious adverse factors may weigh against granting parole in place.

    Benefits of Parole in Place

    The Memo instructs that parole in place should be granted for an initial period of one year, and that it may be reauthorized in subsequent one-year increments.

    Parole in place only waives inadmissibly under section 212(a)(6)(A)(i) relating to entry without inspection. This point is very important with regard to eligibility for adjustment of status.

    In order to adjust status under section 245(a), an alien must have been admitted or paroled into the United States. If the parolee is the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen or falls under certain special categories, he or she will be exempt from the bar to adjustment of status found in section 245(c)(2) which requires that the applicant have maintained continuously a lawful status since his or her last entry into the United States.

    While parole in place may allow certain beneficiaries to adjust status, it does not in and of itself guarantee that a beneficiary will be eligible to adjust to permanent resident status. For one, as we noted, parole in place only cures inadmissibility relating to entry without inspection. Any other factors that may render the alien ineligible for adjustment of status must be addressed separately in order for the alien to be able to become a permanent resident.

    Furthermore, the eventual eligibility of the alien for adjustment of status is not a prerequisite for granting parole in place.[2] Thus, parole in place may be granted for discretionary reasons even if the alien is not likely to be able to adjust status.

    Requesting Parole in Place

    In order to request parole in place, an alien must submit the following:
    • Completed Form I-131, Application for Travel Document (may be filed without fee);
    • Evidence of family relationship;
    • Evidence that family member is an Active Duty member of the U.S. Armed forces, individual in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, or an individual who previously served in the U.S. Armed Forces or the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve;
    • Two identical passport style photos;
    • Evidence of any favorable discretionary factors that the alien wishes for USCIS to consider.


    Before applying for parole in place, an alien should consult with an experienced immigration attorney. An experienced immigration attorney will be able to assess the alien’s unique situation and determine whether requesting parole in place would be to the benefit of the alien. Furthermore, in the event that the alien is granted parole in place, an experienced immigration attorney will have the tools necessary to assist the alien in applying for adjustment of status if he or she is eligible.
    1. Policy Memo, USCIS, Parole of Spouses, Children and Parents of Active Duty Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, and Former Members of the U.S. Armed Forces or Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve and the Effect of Parole on Inadmissibility under Immigration and Nationality Act § 212(a)(6)(A)(i), PM-602-0091 (Nov. 15, 2013)
    2. Q&As, Meeting USCIS Field Operations Directorate with AILA (Apr. 10, 2014), published on AILA InfoNet at Doc. No. 14050844