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The Department of Homeland Security Announces Parole-in-Place Process That Will Offer A Pathway to A Green Card for Undocumented Spouses of U.S. Citizens

On June 18, 2024, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) made a big announcement and introduced a new parole-in-place process for certain noncitizen spouses of U.S. citizens who meet specific criteria. *IMPORTANT NOTE* – As of the date of this blog post, this process is NOT in effect, and there is NO application process for it yet. Do not apply for it, and if someone is telling you they can help you apply for it right now and submit an application, it is not true.

Here is a summary of who would qualify for this process and what immigration benefits it will offer:

  1. Eligibility Criteria:
    • Must have lived in the U.S. for at least 10 years.
    • Must not pose a threat to public safety or national security.
    • Must be eligible to apply for adjustment of status.
    • Must merit a favorable exercise of discretion.
  2. Benefits:
    • Eligible noncitizens can apply for lawful permanent residence (green card) without leaving the U.S. The current process requires these individuals to apply for a waiver and leave the U.S. for an interview at a U.S. consulate, unless an exception applies.
    • It’s estimated that around 500,000 noncitizen spouses and 50,000 of their children could benefit from this program.
  3. Application Process:
    • Individuals must be present in the U.S. without admission or parole. This means that the person has to presently be in the U.S., AND they entered the U.S. without documents. If the person entered with a visa and overstayed or they were paroled under another process, they will not qualify for this process.
    • Must have been continuously present in the U.S. for at least 10 years as of June 17, 2024.
    • Must have a legally valid marriage to a U.S. citizen as of June 17, 2024. Being married to a green card holder does not qualify a person for this.
    • Applicants must demonstrate no disqualifying criminal history and no threat to national security or public safety.
    • USCIS will review applications on a case-by-case basis and look at the applicant’s immigration and criminal history, conduct background checks, and evaluate any other relevant information.
    • A Federal Register notice will outline specific steps for application submission, which will begin later in the summer.
  4. Process Details:
    • USCIS will evaluate each parole-in-place request individually.
    • USCIS will use strong fraud detection methods to make sure there are no fraudulent applications submitted.
    • Applications received before the official start of the application period will be rejected.

If an individual qualifies for this process, they will be granted parole-in-place, which will allow them to apply for a work permit and a pathway to getting a green card while remaining in the U.S. This is a huge change from the current process available to those in this situation, which was mentioned above. Many people are afraid to leave the U.S. because of the burden of traveling and the unknown once they are outside the U.S. More details on eligibility and how to apply will be in an upcoming Federal Register notice.

If you’d like to schedule a consultation with me to discuss your immigration case, you can do so here, or by calling my office at 801-883-8204.

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