Requesting Parole for Humanitarian Reasons to Enter the U.S.

Humanitarian parole is a discretionary benefit that may be granted to allow a foreign national, who is otherwise inadmissible to the United States, to enter for a temporary period due to urgent humanitarian reasons.

Filing for Humanitarian Parole with USCIS

To apply for humanitarian parole, one may file an application for travel document (form I-131) and an affidavit of support (form I-134) with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Some examples provided by the USCIS of situations in which humanitarian or significant public benefit parole may be granted include if the foreign national requires an emergency medical procedure, wishes to attend the funeral of a relative, needs to attend a civil legal proceeding, or seeks reunification with a minor child.

This form of parole is not to be used in place of obtaining a visa, or circumventing normal immigration procedures, and typically will only be considered if all other avenues for entry to the U.S. have been exhausted. At present, one reason a foreign national may be inadmissible to the United States is that the individual is unable to secure a nonimmigrant visa because the pandemic has forced consulates to suspend routine visa service. This alone is unlikely to satisfy the requirement of evidencing a humanitarian or significant public benefit reason. But it certainly can be used as part of the argument as to why such parole should be granted.

The application process with the USCIS can take several months. However, it is possible to ask the USCIS to expedite the application.

Requesting Humanitarian Parole at the Port of Entry

Rather than applying with the USCIS, it is possible to request humanitarian or significant public benefit parole from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a U.S. port of entry (POE). At the POE, the foreign national would need to evidence the urgent humanitarian reason or significant public benefit, and explain why there was no other means of obtaining lawful admission to the United States.

Note that airlines typically will not allow a foreign national to board a plane bound for the U.S. if the individual is not in possession of a valid entry document. Therefore, applying at a POE is not always practical.

Significant Public Benefit Parole

In addition to paroling a person in for humanitarian reasons, parole can also be granted based on a “significant public benefit.” Historically, however, this form of parole typically is administered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and is reserved for persons of law enforcement interest, such as witnesses to judicial proceedings.


Humanitarian parole is an extraordinary measure, so the foreign national must be prepared to provide compelling evidence as to why the benefit should be granted. The Murthy Law Firm has experience in assisting foreign nationals with applying for this discretionary benefit.


Copyright © 2020, MURTHY LAW FIRM. All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.