In mid-November, USCIS announced a new policy that permits eligible spouses, children, and parents of certain members of the U.S. armed forces – active duty military, certain reserves, and certain veterans – to apply for “parole in place” (PIP), a discretionary grant by USCIS that allows those who are physically present in the U.S. without inspection or admission to have their status regularized for the duration of the parole in place. Once granted PIP, the immediate relative may be eligible to adjust status to a lawful permanent resident.
The parole authority of USCIS is most frequently used to permit a foreign national who is outside the United States to come into U.S. territory for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. But the parole authority for those already in the country has been recognized since 1998.
PIP is one of a number of initiatives that USCIS has launched in partnership with the Department of Defense to assist military members, veterans, and their families to apply for special immigration services and benefits. Finding that military members face stress and anxiety about their family members’ immigration status, which impacts their combat readiness, USCIS determined that PIP would be an appropriate relief measure for immediate family members. To be eligible, the applicant must have a qualifying relationship with the military member and must not have a criminal conviction or other serious adverse factors. USCIS will authorize PIP in one-year increments, with extensions as appropriate.
Most significantly, though, the grant of PIP will pave the way for family members who entered the U.S. without inspection to have an adjustment of status application filed on their behalf if they are otherwise eligible. The grant of PIP cures the problem that an applicant who entered without inspection is not eligible to adjust status, by permitting that person to fulfill the statutory requirement that he or she was “admitted or paroled” into the country.