Parole in Place for Military Families
Parole in place (PIP) is a unique program for certain undocumented family members of U.S. military personnel. The program is available to certain family members of active-duty members of the armed forces, the National Guard, reservists, and veterans. It allows those non-citizen family members who are in the U.S. unlawfully to apply for a green card, without having to leave the country. This is a significant benefit that’s not available to family members of civilians.
The Problem Addressed by Parole in Place
Under current immigration law, people who entered the United States without inspection (unlawfully) generally cannot apply for permanent residence (green card) from inside the U.S., a process known as adjustment of status. In these cases, the undocumented family member cannot obtain a green card unless he or she returns to the home country for consular processing. However, in many cases, that person will trigger a three- to ten-year bar as a penalty for the previous unlawful presence. For members of the U.S. armed forces, these scenarios can create stress and anxiety that adversely affects military preparedness.
Parole in place attempts to avoid the separation of military families by allowing certain family members to adjust status while in the United States.
Eligibility for Parole in Place
The U.S. citizen in the military must be one of the following:
- An active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces
- A current member of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve
- Someone that has previously served in the U.S. Armed Forces or Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve
Only immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen member of the U.S. military are eligible. Non-citizen spouses, parents, and unmarried minor children (under age 21) of U.S. citizen members of the U.S. military who are in the U.S. without lawful status can be considered for the PIP program.
- Unmarried child (under age 21)
How to Apply for Parole in Place
You must obtain parole in place before you can begin the process of adjusting status. If you do not first get the parole in place granted, your application to adjust status will almost certainly be denied.
Note Parole in Place is not automatic and it is not given to everyone that applies. Parole in place is not guaranteed, it is a discretionary policy, and USCIS will review each individual’s situation on a case-by-case basis. This is why it is important that you consult with an experienced immigration attorney.