Given the everchanging and complex nature of immigration law, it is easy to get confused about different processes and whether a person is eligible for the benefits or protections they offer. Two of these processes are advanced parole and parole-in-place. Although they sound similar, they are different and were created for very different purposes.
Parole-in-place is a program that was created to recognize the sacrifices made by United States service members, veterans, enlistees and their families. It allows the family of U.S. service members who entered the U.S. without permission to obtain special status that allows them to remain in the U.S. with temporary legal status, the right to apply for work authorization and the ability to qualify for other immigration processes while remaining in the U.S.
Normally a person who enters the country without permission is not eligible to change their immigration status without first leaving the country and requesting to re-enter after an interview. The problem with this is that once the individuals leave the U.S., they are automatically barred from reentering the U.S. for 10 years as punishment for their unauthorized presence. Those who are required to leave and risk having a bar are required to file a special (and often costly) waiver request to remove the problems on their record and the punishment in place to make them eligible for a green card. The parole-in-place program eliminates the need for this by allowing the recipient to remain in the U.S. and avoid these problems entirely.
To request parole-in-place, an applicant must submit the required application and supporting documents to the office with jurisdiction over their place of residence to prove the family relationship, the service member’s proof of military service and information to convince the government that the family member deserves the special status. The processing time for this form of relief varies depending on the office having authority over your case, but typically takes around 10 months. Once the status is approved, the recipient can then apply for work authorization, a green card or any other process that they now may be legally eligible for.
As stated before, advance parole is completely unrelated to parole-in-place. Advance parole is a form of travel request for those who are not otherwise eligible to leave and return to the U.S. for one reason or another. These requests are not automatically granted and, in fact, often are not granted at all. Advance parole is one of three separate types of entry requests for immigrants who need to be able to leave the U.S. and return without being barred.
Advance Parole allows an alien to physically enter the U.S. for a specific purpose and then leave once that purpose is fulfilled (humanitarian needs) and is, therefore, temporary in nature. In the past several years, advance parole was used to permit those without full legal status in the U.S. (like DACA recipients) to be able to leave the country for a very specific purpose (work, school or humanitarian reasons) and then reenter the U.S. it is important to know that an individual who has been “paroled” has not been legally admitted to the U.S. for all immigration purposes and are limited to what forms of relief they are eligible to apply for. Also with advance parole, there is always the risk that the person will not be allowed to re-enter the US. It is at the sole discretion of the Department of Homeland Security agent at the port of entry to allow the holder into the U.S. or not.
The other two types of travel requests are for those seeking a travel document for humanitarian reasons or re-entry permits for green card holders. The Reentry Permit allows a lawful permanent resident or conditional permanent resident to apply for admission to the U.S. if they are seeking to leave the U.S. for longer than the standard amount of time permitted in with their status. A Refugee Travel Document is issued to an individual in a valid refugee or asylee status or to a lawful permanent resident who obtained their status as a refugee or asylee while in the U.S. and have no passport from their country of birth to be able to travel. Depending on the type of request being made, very different information is required to be filed with the request. The processing time for most travel requests is around 10 months.