The word “parole” or “humanitarian parole” has been in the news a lot recently because of Afghanistan. But what is it and what does it mean?

Here are a few important high level things to know about parole:

There are many different kinds of parole.  Parole is catch-all immigration term that can cover many different statuses of entry into the US.  In general, parole is only used if there is no other better status to enter the country.  An Afghan who has parole could have a very different story and legal situation to say a Cuban parolee.

It is temporary. Parole, in all its forms is not intended to be a status that allows you to live in the US indefinitely.  Most parolees are only allowed to live in the US for one or maybe two years.  The US government made it clear recently that Afghans who are granted parole should be allowed to live here for two years and then have the opportunity to renew.

Without action by the US congress, people who have parole cannot get green cards or become US citizens.  There have been laws to allow this for particular groups, Cubans for example, but new groups need new laws.  This means for now Afghan parolees who want to stay in the US will have to see if they are eligible for some other status, like political asylum, or else they will be required to go home when their parole expires.

Parole is just the beginning of a long legal process and each parolee will have a unique journey on that road.  So, the next time you meet someone who says they have parole, they have a unique story to tell!


Written by Arrive Ministries Immigration Legal Services staff


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