What is a humanitarian visa? Do you need to get one if you seek for asylum in the United States? In the sections below, we will explain all about a humanitarian visa.
Humanitarian Visa (Parole) – A Way for Immigrants to Stay in the United States
A humanitarian visa is a special document that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants to applicants or beneficiaries due to urgent humanitarian reasons. The official term for this visa in the U.S. is humanitarian parole. And if you seek shelter due to unfavorable circumstances in your country, then you may request a humanitarian visa (read: parole) from USCIS.
Note, however, that parole is not really a visa, but simply a permission to enter the U.S. territory for a limited time. Also note that humanitarian parole is not the same as a permanent immigration status or asylee status. In most cases, your time under humanitarian parole is restricted and cannot be longer than a year.
Humanitarian parole – a way for an immigrant to be temporarily allowed on the territory of the U.S. due to unfavorable circumstances in the immigrant’s home country.
Eligibility Requirements for Humanitarian Parole (Visa)
The main requirement to all humanitarian parole applicants is this: an applicant must have a serious humanitarian ground to request parole. In other words, you cannot apply for humanitarian parole if you just want to bypass the standard immigration procedure to obtain a visa.
But if you applied for a visa, and the Department of State has not issued your admission documents, you are also allowed to apply for humanitarian parole.
If you meet the two requirements mentioned above, then you can freely request humanitarian parole. And USCIS also specifies that basically any person is allowed to apply for parole.
How to Apply for Humanitarian Parole
The application procedure for humanitarian parole is fairly simple. To apply for humanitarian parole, you need to file the following two documents with USCIS:
- Form I-131, Application for Travel Document.
- Form I-134, Affidavit of Support.
The affidavit of support is a special document that you must include in the package of documents that you mail to USCIS. The affidavit proves that you will not be a burden to the U.S. government. In other words, you must be able to support yourself or you must find a sponsor who will support you during the time you stay on parole in the U.S.
If you have enough money to support yourself (or if you have no sponsor), you will have to also mail documents that prove your financial strength.
Besides the mentioned documents, you must also explain in written form why you must be granted humanitarian parole. We advise you to consult an immigration lawyer who would help you make a credible letter.
Filing Fee for Humanitarian Parole
Unlike a request for asylum, the application for humanitarian parole is not free. USCIS will charge you $575 for each application that you sent. If you decide, for example, to extend your parole (you request for re-parole), you will have to pay again the same amount as we have just mentioned: $575.
USCIS may also require your fingerprints; therefore, you may need to pay another $85 for biometrics services. But if you are below 13 years of age, you are not obliged to pay the biometrics services fee.
The filing fee concerns only Form I-131 that you file to USCIS. As for the Form I-134, there is no filing fee.
We strongly recommend that you verify Form I-131 filing fee information on the USCIS website, because the fee may change. Besides, you may meet certain criteria and avoid paying the filing fee. Last, the fee will not be refunded if USCIS rejects your application. And you cannot even ask for a waiver (an exemption from paying the fee).
Restrictions of Humanitarian Parole
When you are granted humanitarian parole, you are allowed to stay in the United States for only a short period of time. You may want to apply for re-parole to extend your stay. But you must also pay once more for applying Form I-131. And you must have enough money to sustain living in the U.S., because humanitarian visa applicants are not allowed to work in the U.S.
The other restriction concerns the denial of parole. A USCIS officer’s decision with regard to your humanitarian visa is considered final. Put simply, if your application was denied, you cannot appeal for re-parole.
You are not allowed to work in the United States with humanitarian parole. Therefore, to get you application for humanitarian parole approved, you must provide evidence that you basically have enough money to reside in the U.S. There are cases when USCIS may allow you to work during your stay in the U.S. You must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, in that case.
I have filed my humanitarian parole application. What’s next?
You must wait for two notifications from USCIS. USCIS will mail you the first notification to confirm they received your application. The second notification will be mailed to you when the decision is taken.
Applying for humanitarian parole (visa) may be complicated for anyone. And although we have given enough information to introduce you to obtaining a humanitarian parole, there are many specific conditions defined by USCIS. But if you consult a professional immigration lawyer, the chances for your application for humanitarian parole to be successful will substantially increase.