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Lawful U.S. Entry For Nationals From Haiti, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela

On January 5th, 2023 USCIS announced a new parole process for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans which allows nationals from these countries, and their immediate family members, to safely and lawfully seek entry at a U.S. port of entry after being granted advance authorization to travel to the U.S. by air. Under this new parole process, eligible beneficiaries must have a qualified U.S. based Supporter(s) who files Form I134A online to initiate the process on their behalf. If the beneficiary is granted advance travel authorization to travel to the U.S. by air, the beneficiary must arrange for their own air travel to the U.S. at their own expense and seek a discretionary grant of parole at a U.S. port of entry within 90 days of the authorization to travel. The authorization to travel does not grant parole (entry into the U.S.). Upon arrival to the United States, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer will make the determination on parole. If the beneficiary is granted parole into the U.S. at the port of entry, the beneficiary may remain in the U.S. for a period of up to 2 years and apply for work authorization. In this blog post I’ll explain who is eligible and how to request issuance of advance authorization to travel to the United States in order to seek entry under this new parole process.

What is parole? The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to exercise discretion to temporarily allow certain noncitizens to physically enter or remain in the United States if they are applying for admission but do not have a legal basis for being admitted. DHS may only grant parole if the agency determines that there are urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons.

The new parole process provides a lawful and streamlined way for qualifying nationals of Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela, and Nicaragua who are outside the United States and lacking U.S. entry documents to come to the United States. The application process is done fully online. Currently there is a cap of 30,000 grants of advance travel authorization shared between nationals of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela (CHNV) who qualify. There is currently no future date for the process to end. The process can be completed within a few days or weeks.

A supporter in the United States must initiate the process on behalf of the beneficiary and commit to providing the beneficiary financial support, as needed, during the entire duration of the parole period by filing form I134A, Online Request to be a Supporter and Declaration of Financial Support, for each beneficiary listed on the form. The Form I-134A is free and filed online on the myUSCIS web portal. One Supporter can sponsor multiple beneficiaries but each beneficiary must have their own 134A. The government will use the Federal Poverty Guidelines as a tool to decide, in its discretion, whether the Supporter can financially support each of the beneficiaries listed on the I134A based on evidence of the Supporter’s income and assets. In addition to having adequate financial resources, a qualified Supporter must also be vetted and confirmed, before the beneficiary can be granted advance travel authorization.

Supporters do not have to be related to the beneficiary to whom they intend to financially commit. Supporters are not restricted to who they may support by initiating this process. Because Supporters are not restricted to who they may support, Supporters may file form I134A to initiate the process on behalf of persons who they would be unable to petition through a family petition due to disqualifying familial relationship or immigration status. For example, lawful permanent residents are not limited to filing form I134A for just their spouse or unmarried children. Under this new parole process, lawful permanent residents could file Form I134A for their parent, aunt, niece, childhood friend, married children, etc.

Qualified Supporters must:

· be a U.S. citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident; hold a lawful status in the United States; or be a parolee or recipient of deferred action or Deferred Enforced Departure;

· pass security and background vetting; and

· demonstrate sufficient financial resources to receive, maintain, and support the intended beneficiary whom they commit to support for the duration of their parole period.

Beneficiaries must also meet certain eligibility criteria to take advantage of the new parole process. It is not enough to have a qualifying nationality and a qualified Supporter.

Eligible Beneficiaries must:

· be a national of Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, or Haiti, or an immediate family member traveling with the principal beneficiary

Immediate Relatives under this process include: spouse or common-law partner; unmarried children under the age of 21

· be outside of the U.S.

· have an unexpired valid passport

· if the under 18 years old, the beneficiary must travel with a parent or legal guardian

· provide for their own commercial travel to an air U.S. port of entry and final U.S. destination;

· undergo and pass required national security and public safety vetting;

· comply with all additional requirements, including vaccination requirements and other public health guidelines; and

· demonstrate that a grant of parole is warranted based on significant public benefit or urgent humanitarian reasons, as described above, and that a favorable exercise of discretion is otherwise merited.

The two-year period of parole will enable individuals to seek humanitarian relief or other immigration benefits for which they may be eligible, and to apply for and receive work authorization, while they are in the United States. Those with pending immigration applications are not disqualified from the new parole process based solely on their pending application. Beneficiaries of the new parole process should consult with a knowledgeable immigration attorney to discuss other immigration benefits for which they may be eligible, or to discuss the effect the parole may have on existing immigration applications.

If no other immigration benefits are granted during this two-year parole period, the beneficiary will generally need to depart the United States prior to the expiration of their authorized parole period or will be placed in removal proceedings after the period of parole expires. It is important to keep in mind that while this new parole process is generally quick and free, most immigration processes are generally, lengthy, and costly. Most immigration applications can take up to several months or years and can cost hundreds of dollars. It is best is start discussing a long-term strategy to remain in the U.S. lawfully beyond the 2-year parole period to avoid becoming subject to deportation and interruptions to employment authorization once the parole period has expired.

The new parole process for nationals of Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela, and Nicaragua is a great way to reunite families and aide in providing safety and refuge to those in need in a quick and efficient manner. It is important to consult with an immigration attorney to ensure that all the necessary information and documentation to apply are available and that other long-term immigration options have been evaluated. To contact our office call us at 321-325-1125.

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