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Travel Permits for Certain Afghan Nationals – Humanitarian Parole

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Travel Permits for Certain Afghan Nationals – Humanitarian Parole

With the Taliban’s August 2021 takeover of Afghanistan, a dire humanitarian crisis is in full effect.

Reports indicate that over 550,000 Afghans are displaced. Afghan nationals are desperate to flee. Many of these individuals with family connections in the United States are seeking permission to enter the United States.

In August, President Biden directed DHS to implement support to vulnerable Afghans under Operation Allies Welcome, which includes initial immigration processing and help with resettlement. The initiative works under the notion that “most Afghan nationals will be paroled into the United States, on a case-by-case basis, for humanitarian reasons.” This article will break down Humanitarian Parole specifically for Afghan refugees.

Humanitarian Parole

Non-citizens outside the United States may request parole into the United States based on urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons for a temporary period. The request is made with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Parole does not give the individual immigration status and does not provide a path to permanent residency. In fact, USCIS often requires the individual to “regularize” their status by applying for some other form of immigration benefit, sometimes even a renewal of the parole period. Individuals can apply for parole for themselves, or someone else can file it for them.

The Application Process

Applicants for Humanitarian Parole should submit to USCIS all relevant supporting evidence to show that the applicant qualifies for parole and merits an approval. USCIS requires submission of Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. USCIS provides guidance on documentation to support parole requests on its webpage. Ibrahim Law Office encourages applicants to include a financial sponsor by submitting Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, along with supporting evidence

The Form I-131 must include the filing fee ($575, in most cases) or fee waiver request. Each family member must file a separate Form I-131 with required fees or a fee waiver. USCIS’s official webpage asks that applicants write “Afghanistan Humanitarian Parole” on the mailing envelope. For expedited processing, USCIS asks applicants to write the word EXPEDITE in the top right corner of the application in black ink.

If Parole Is Granted

USCIS will send a “conditional approval” notice to the applicant, the person who filed the parole request, and/or the legal representative. The U.S. government will contact the applicant with instructions regarding issuance of the travel document itself. USCIS admits that the situation is quite fluid due to various factors, and that applicants may experience delays in their cases. Applicants may need to arrange travel to a U.S. embassy outside of Afghanistan to continue processing their parole request.

Once the I-131 is approved, applicants must complete a Form DS-160, Application for a Nonimmigrant Visa, and include their best local contact information as soon as possible. Instructions for completing the DS-160 are included in the conditional approval letter. The DS-160 will go through background checks. Keep in mind that a grant of parole does not guarantee entry to the United States – only a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer can actually allow the person into the United States.

Parolees Who Have Entered the United States

Parole is not a legal immigration status. It does not provide a path to legal immigration status. Parolees must take additional steps to ensure they remain legally present in the United States after their authorized period of parole has ended. Failure to maintain lawful presence throughout the parolee’s entire stay in the U.S. can have serious immigration consequences. There are many potential options for parolees, including a renewal of parole (re-parole), an asylum application, and possible work-based or family based residency applications.

If you are seeking more information regarding humanitarian parole for Afghan nationals, contact Ibrahim Law Office for a consultation today.

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