Using "Parole in Place" to Waive Unlawful Entry
(for Family Members of U.S. Military)

“Parole in place” (“PIP”) allows certain aliens who entered the U.S. without inspection to obtain an unlawful presence waiver and adjust their status to lawful without leaving the country. An alien is eligible for PIP if he or she: 

  • Entered the United States without permission, AND
  • Is the spouse, child or parent of a U.S. citizen who:
    • Is on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, 
    • Is in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, or
    • Previously served in the U.S. Armed Forces or Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve.1

PIP relief is discretionary.2 But it is highly encouraged in order to ease the strain placed upon military service members and veterans who have close relatives that have entered the U.S. unlawfully.

As a result, parole in place requests will usually be granted when the alien's only ground of inadmissibility is unlawful presence or entry.

To help you better understand parole in place, our Los Angeles, California immigration lawyers discuss, below:

male soldier standing with his wife and child outside house displaying the U.S. flag

1. What is “parole in place”?

Parole in place is a type of waiver of inadmissibility for non-U.S. citizens that accomplishes two goals:

  1. It allows the government to waive an alien's inadmissibility due to entering the U.S. without inspection, and
  2. It lets the alien apply for lawful permanent residence (a “green card”) without leaving the United States for consular processing.

Importantly, PIP alleviates the normal 3-year or 10-year bar against re-entry placed on an alien who leaves the U.S. after being unlawfully present for more than 180 days.

It is called "parole in place" because the alien is not required to leave the U.S. in order to adjust status.

2. Who can apply for parole in place?

Parole in place is available to an alien who:

  • Is present in the United States without inspection, and
  • Is the spouse, child or parent of:
    • An Active Duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces, 
    • Someone in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, or
    • Someone who previously served in the U.S. Armed Forces or the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve

An alien is not eligible for parole in place if he or she entered the U.S. on a visa.

2.1. Can I obtain PIP if I am already in removal/deportation proceedings?

An alien who is in removal proceedings or has been issued a final order of removal may still be able to obtain parole in place.

But the alien will first need to persuade Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to terminate active removal proceedings or to join in a motion to reopen an immigration court case.

2.2. What if I have a criminal conviction?

A person who has been granted parole in place is eligible to apply for adjustment of status if the only barrier to adjustment is lack of inspection and admission.

It does not remove other grounds of inadmissibility. An applicant for adjustment of status must still satisfy all of the other requirements.

Applicants with "inadmissible" criminal convictions or other adverse factors should consult with an experienced California criminal and immigration lawyer about the possibility of obtaining post-conviction relief, a waiver of inadmissibility or other relief.

3. How much does parole in place cost?

There is no fee to apply for PIP.

4. How long is PIP good for?

Parole is usually authorized in one-year increments, with re-parole as appropriate.

5. How do I apply for parole in place?

There is no formal procedure for requesting parole in place. Rather, an eligible alien should submit a hardship letter to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office having jurisdiction over the alien's residence or the military member's place of duty.

The letter should clearly indicate in the opening paragraph that the alien is seeking parole in place. The applicant should also enclose the following documents:

  • A completed Form I-131, Application for Travel Document (even though travel will not be required); 
  • Evidence of the family relationship to the U.S. military member (such as a copy of a birth or marriage certificate);
  • Evidence of the family member's status as a current or former member of the military (such as a copy of the front and back of the member's DD Form 1173, military identification card);
  • Two identical passport-style photographs; and
  • Evidence of any additional factors that would weigh in favor of an exercise of discretion (such as letters from community leaders or teachers showing involvement in volunteer, community or educational activities).

5.1. Will USCIS require an interview?

USCIS may or may not require an in-person interview. If an interview is required, it will usually be brief – possibly even at a filing or intake window.

However, if USCIS feels it needs more information, the interview may be longer or more extensive.

6. When can I apply to adjust status?

An alien should obtain parole in place approval before applying to adjust status.

Otherwise, the Form I-485 adjustment of status request will likely be rejected.

Evidence of the PIP approval (Form I-94) should be included with the I-485 application.

Note additionally that although there is no cost to obtain parole in place, normal fees apply for obtaining adjustment of status.

Need help getting a green card? Call us…

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If you or someone you know needs help becoming a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder) we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.

Our caring California criminal and immigration attorneys can help with parole in place, post-conviction relief, obtaining asylum in the U.S. or other immigration issues.

Call us at (855) 396-0370 or fill out the form on this page to discuss your case with a knowledgeable lawyer today.


Legal references:

  1. See Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA") Sections 212(a)(6)(A)(i), 212(d)(5)(A), 235(a), and 245(a), (c). See also USCIS Policy Memorandum on Parole in Place, November 15, 2013.
  2. INA §212(d)(5)(A).

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