Parole Into the United States


Pursuant to Section 212(d)(5)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”), the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) may, in her discretion, parole any alien applying for admission into the U.S.  Such parole shall be issued on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons, which is why it is sometimes referred to as “humanitarian parole.”  

In the immigration context, the term “parole” has a very specific meaning.  A person who has been “paroled” has not been “admitted” to the U.S., nor have they made an “admission” under the immigration law.  This is true despite the fact that the individual (“parolee”) is permitted physical entry into the U.S. following inspection by an immigration officer.  A parolee is not “admitted” because most often s/he is inadmissible to the U.S.  

A grant of parole under INA § 212(d)(5)(A) provides for a one-time entry for a specific purpose.  There are no travel rights pursuant to a grant of humanitarian parole (as distinguished from advance parole, which allows applicants for permanent residence to travel abroad while their applications are pending), which means that an inadmissible non-citizen can make only one entry pursuant to their grant of parole.  If s/he departs the U.S. following that parole entry, s/he must obtain another grant of parole to re-enter (or else obtain the proper waiver, etc.). 

The parole of inadmissible non-citizens is a privilege, not a right.  It is not a power that is exercised often, and is reserved for only those truly deserving cases.  As set forth by statute, parole applications are to be granted on a case-by-case basis for “urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.”  INA § 212(d)(5)(A).  

Examples of reasons to support a parole request include, but are not limited to: 

  • To obtain medical treatment in the U.S.;
  • To visit a sick relative in the U.S.;
  • To attend a funeral in the U.S.
  • To appear for and participate in civil litigation or criminal prosecution; and
  • To prevent the inhumane separation of families.

Humanitarian parole can be applied for in one of two ways: (1) by applying though U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”); or (2) by applying through U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) at a U.S. Port of Entry.  For more information about applying through USCIS, visit their website at:

Our office has been successful in obtaining paroles for non-citizens at the local Port of Entry in each of the situations described above.  We prepare a detailed parole request, which includes an explanation of the applicant’s inadmissibility as well as the compelling reasons for seeking parole.  Our submissions also include detailed supporting documentation, which is crucial to a successful parole request.  We then accompany our clients seeking parole to the Port of Entry on their date of application.  Since parole is granted on a case-by-case basis, CBP officials cannot approve a parole request prior to the actual in-person application

Parolees will be provided a Form I-94 that clearly indicates they have been paroled into the U.S.  The Form I-94 will also indicate a date on which the parole expires, and by which the parolee must depart the U.S.

If you are inadmissible (or have otherwise been unable to obtain a visa) and have an urgent need to enter the U.S. and would like to discuss the possibility of a parole, you may contact us and request a consultation.

Read more about successful parole cases: Parole Authorizations

USCIS Humanitarian Parole Fact Sheet