Family Reunification Parole Process: What is it, What does it do, and Who can get it?
On July 7, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the implementation of the Family Reunification Parole Process (FRPP). This relief is a part of the Biden administration’s recent push to provide lawful pathways for people seeking admission to the United States. It is also meant to discourage irregular and unlawful migration to the United States.
The following outlines important information about FRPP to keep in mind.
What does it do?
Approval of FRPP will allow family members who are the beneficiaries of an approved I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to travel to the United States with parole. Rather than wait outside the country for their priority date to become current, certain beneficiaries of approved I-130 petitions will be allowed to travel to enter the country lawfully for a three-year period. During this time period, beneficiaries will be able to remain and work lawfully in the United States while they wait for their priority date to become current. At the end of the three-year period, beneficiaries will be required to either return to their country, apply for permission to extend their status in the United States, or apply for adjustment of status within the United States if their priority date is then current.
Who is eligible?
DHS limits the program based on government operational capacity and to a certain number of countries. Specifically, eligibility for the program follows the rules below:
The program is limited to beneficiaries from certain countries.
- It will only be available for beneficiaries, and their immediate family members (spouses and unmarried children under age 21 mentioned in I-130 petition), from Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
FRPP is by invitation only.
- Petitioners can only apply for FRPP if they receive a letter from the Department of Homeland Security inviting them to apply for FRPP. They cannot and should not apply for this relief on their own if they have not received an invitation.
DHS will only issue invitations to petitioners of approved I-130 petitions.
- Petitioners should not expect to receive a letter from DHS if your I-130 petition is still pending, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) rejected their petition, or their petition was revoked. ONLY petitioners and beneficiaries of approved I-130 petitions may receive a letter from DHS.
Once petitioners are invited to apply, they will need to move quickly.
- DHS sets a 6-month deadline for invitees to apply for the FRPPP from the date they receive the letter. In order to prepare a strong application for the FRPP, it’ll be imperative that petitioners move quickly to avoid missing their deadline.
How will DHS review applications?
A petitioner will be required to submit an application online to begin the FRPP process. USCIS will collect the petitioner’s financial information to determine whether or not they’re able to financially support the beneficiary if they enter the United States. Both the petitioner and beneficiary will undergo extensive background checks, including a medical exam, to establish eligibility.
DHS will consider the following beneficiaries ineligible for this relief:
- Beneficiaries who have crossed the US border without authorization after July 10, 2023;
- Beneficiaries who have been interdicted at sea after July 10, 2023; and/or
- Beneficiaries who have been ordered removed from the United States within the prior five years will or are subject to a bar to admissibility on a prior removal order.
Once USCIS approves, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will issue the beneficiary advanced authorization to travel to the United States and to apply for admission at a US port-of-entry. There, on a case-by-case basis, CBP will determine whether parole is warranted for humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. Beneficiaries will also have to undergo additional fingerprint screenings and vetting. It is important to note that this relief is entirely discretionary. A beneficiary may arrive at a US port of entry, and they may still be denied parole. If denied, the beneficiary may be processed for return to their country of origin.
What can be done right now?
Since DHS controls who does or does not receive the invitation letter needed to apply for FRPP, there are very few things that can be done at this time. However, the following should are some steps that can be taken right now:
Aside from the abovementioned actions, petitioners and beneficiaries of approved I-130 petition will need to wait until they receive a letter from DHS before applying for this relief.
- Petitioners and beneficiaries should ensure their address is up to date with the US Citizenship and Immigration Service and the National Visa Center. DHS will use the details in the petitioner’s file with USCIS to send an invitation letter.
- If a petitioner believes they may receive an invitation letter, then they need to ensure their tax and financial information are up to date and correctly filed.
- Lawful Permanent Residents and US Citizens with family members abroad should consult with their immigration attorney to determine whether they can submit an I-130 petition and benefit from the FRPP.
What’s our takeaway?
Despite its limited deployment, the FRPP will allow hundreds, if not thousands, of family members to be reunified in the United States. Many of our current and past clients have spent decades away from their siblings, parents, and spouses. This avenue for relief may help end decades of separation and bring families together. It may also help stop people desperate for a better a life in Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras from risking their lives by attempting to travel to the United States by foot and entering the country without authorization. We see this as a step in the right direction.
If you or your family member received an invitation from DHS, or if you have questions about your immigration case, do not hesitate to make an appointment with an immigration attorney at our office by calling 317-639-1210.
Disclaimer: This article is made available for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.