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USCIS Announces End of Parole Program in Moscow Questions and Answers

Released July 12, 2011

Introduction

U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) no longer is offering parole to Lautenberg category members who are denied refugee status in Moscow. Individuals who have been offered parole by USCIS in Moscow must make plans to arrive in the United States by Sept. 30, 2011.

Background

A provision of the Lautenberg Amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act allows certain individuals who are paroled into the United States after being denied refugee status to adjust to lawful permanent resident status after being physically present in the United States for one year. Within the Moscow program, this provision is limited to only those refugee applicants from countries that made up the former Soviet Union, who meet the Lautenberg criteria. Congress has not extended this Lautenberg Amendment provision, which expires with respect to any category members paroled after Sept. 30, 2011.

Questions and Answers

Q1.  Why has USCIS stopped authorizing parole to this group of individuals?
A1.  Parole allows a person to enter the United States but does not provide a path to permanent immigration status. Because the provision in the Lautenberg Amendment that allows adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident status for denied refugee applicants who are paroled will expire Sept. 30, 2011, USCIS will not continue to offer parole to persons who are not eligible to adjust their status.

Q2.  What happens to someone who is denied refugee status and is not authorized parole?
A2.  If you are denied refugee status and not offered parole, you may submit a Request for Review of your denied refugee case. You may submit only one request. For more information on the Request for Review process, see our Request for Review Tip Sheet. A person wishing to immigrate to the United States may have other immigration options. Please refer to our website at www.uscis.gov for information on these options.

Q3.  What if I have been authorized parole as a Lautenberg category member, but I have not traveled to the U.S.?
A3.  Individuals authorized parole cannot travel to the United States until they have submitted the required affidavits of support and medical clearances, and USCIS has received the results of all security background checks. If you were authorized parole prior to the end of this program, but have not yet traveled to the United States, you will receive a notice of what steps you still need to complete before you can travel, including any security checks. If you have been authorized parole by USCIS you must complete this process, make travel arrangements and enter the United States no later than Sept. 30, 2011. Your parole into the United States will not be authorized after that date.

Q4.  What happens if I have been authorized parole, but I cannot get to the United States by Sept. 30, 2011?
A4.  Your parole into the United States will not be authorized beyond Sept. 30, 2011, because you will not be eligible for adjustment of status if you enter the United States after that date. Please visit www.uscis.gov to learn about other immigration options.

Q5.  What if all my family members are not ready to travel by Sept. 30, 2011? Can I enter the United States and return for my family later?
A5.  Each individual, whether part of a family or not, who has been authorized parole must enter the United States by Sept. 30, 2011.

Q6.  What if there has been a change to my family circumstance since the interview, such as a new baby or my child has turned 21 years of age?
A6.  If there has been a change to your family circumstance since the time of your USCIS interview, please contact the International Organization for Migration (IOM) immediately to determine if this affects your authorization for parole. (See Q10 for contact information.)

Q7.  What happens if I don’t have valid, updated security checks?
A7.  USCIS is making every effort to expedite any pending security checks. However, if security checks cannot be completed in time for you to travel to the United States prior to Sept. 30, 2011, the parole will not be authorized.

Q8.  What will happen if I do not submit the Affidavit of Support or medical clearance in time to travel to the United States before Sept. 30, 2011?
A8.  You will not be eligible for parole if you have not successfully completed all requirements, including the Affidavit of Support and medical clearances.

Q9.  I was authorized parole earlier this year but did not submit a Request for Review (RFR) because I intended to travel to the United States with parole authorization. However, I am not able to travel to the United States by Sept. 30, 2011. May I file a Request for Review even though it is past the 90-day window for filing?
A9.  Yes, you have 90 days from the date of this notice to submit a Request for Review of your denied refugee case.

Q10.  Who should I contact if I have questions or problems concerning my case or the process I need to complete to travel?
A10. You may contact the International Organization for Migration, located at 2-aya Zvenigorodskaya ul., Dom 12, Moscow, Russia 123100, MoscowUSRAP@iom.int, Tel.: +7 (495) 797-8721, Fax: +7 (495) 253-3522. You may also inquire at USCIS in person from 1 to 4 p.m. weekdays, excluding holidays. We are located in the U.S. Embassy at Bolshoi Devyatinsky, Pereluk 8, 121099, Moscow, Russia. You may also reach us by email at Moscow.dhs@dhs.gov.

Q11. What are the steps I need to follow to be able to travel to the United States?
A11. If you have been authorized parole, you must have your security checks cleared and completed through USCIS. You also must submit to USCIS an Affidavit of Support from a qualified sponsor in the United States. Once we receive and verify your Affidavit of Support, you must complete a medical examination and submit the results from that exam. Once all security checks have cleared through USCIS and the Affidavit of Support and medical examination are properly completed, you may purchase your tickets with an arrival date in the United States no later than Sept. 30, 2011.  Please contact the International Organization for Migration for details on each of these required steps.

Q12. What if I am having trouble obtaining the Affidavit of Support from a sponsor in the United States?
A12.  USCIS strongly suggests you obtain your Affidavit of Support on or before Aug. 31, 2011. If you do not obtain the Affidavit of Support by that date, USCIS cannot ensure you will have enough time to complete the other required steps to allow you to travel and enter the United States by Sept. 30, 2011.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, visit www.uscis.gov.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 07/12/2011