FACT SHEET: Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program
Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program
The HFRP Program offers certain beneficiaries of approved family-based immigration petitions (Forms I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, the opportunity to be reunited with family in the United States up to approximately two years before their immigrant visas are expected to become available. Approved beneficiaries will enter the United States as parolees, but will apply for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status once their immigrant visas become available.
Eligibility to Apply
The Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) will issue invitations to U.S. citizens or LPRs who filed Forms I-130 for Haitian family members that were approved on or before December 18, 2014, and for which immigrant visas are expected to be available approximately within 18 – 30 months from the date of the invitation. Only U.S. petitioners who receive invitations from the NVC will be eligible to apply for the HFRP Program. The NVC will begin issuing invitations to eligible U.S. petitioners beginning in mid-March 2015. Invitations will be issued at least once per year.
U.S. petitioners should make sure that the NVC has their current mailing addresses. Petitioners can update their addresses with the NVC using the Public Inquiry Form found on the Department of State website at http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/contact/ask-nvc.html.
Eligibility for Parole
USCIS will grant parole on a case-by-case basis. Only beneficiaries who are interviewed in Haiti and would qualify for an immigrant visa if an immigrant visa were immediately available, will qualify for parole. Derivative children* who are 21 years of age or older at the time the U.S. petitioner properly files for the HFRP Program will not be eligible for consideration. USCIS will consider for parole any derivative children who are under 21 years of age on the date that a qualified petitioner properly files an HFRP Program application with USCIS on the child’s behalf.
*A Principal Beneficiary is the relative for whom the petitioner filed the underlying approved Form I-130. Derivative Beneficiaries are the spouses and unmarried children under 21 of that Principal Beneficiary. The NVC Invitation Letter will indicate who is considered to be the Principal Beneficiary and who is considered a Derivative Beneficiary.
Applying to the HFRP Program
To apply to the HFRP Program on behalf of Haitian family members, petitioners who have received an invitation letter from the NVC must file a parole application (Form I-131, Application for Travel Document), along with the required fee (or fee waiver request), and a Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, for each relative they wish to have considered for parole. Petitioners must file for all eligible relatives associated with the same underlying Form I-130 at the same time, meaning that they will need to file any applications for Derivative Beneficiaries at the same time as the application for the Principal Beneficiary. If a petitioner does not apply for the Principal Beneficiary of the Form I-130, USCIS will not consider the associated Derivative Beneficiaries under the HFRP Program.
An application deadline will be provided in the invitation letter from the NVC. Generally, petitioners will be given six (6) months from the date of the invitation to submit their application(s).
The current fee for filing a Form I-131 is $360, although a petitioner may request a fee waiver by filing the Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver. Petitioners and/or beneficiaries will also be required to cover all costs associated with attending an interview in Port-au-Prince, including the completion of a medical examination and travel to the United States.
Beneficiary Interview Required
An interview is required for all program beneficiaries before parole may be authorized. Although a USCIS Service Center may conditionally approve a Form I-131 application, final approval of the application will require an in-person interview with a USCIS officer at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince. The NVC will schedule HFRP Program interviews and will notify both the petitioner in the United States and the beneficiary in Haiti of the date and time of interview. Petitioners should not attempt to schedule an appointment directly with USCIS or the U.S. Embassy.
If Travel is Approved
USCIS will issue the necessary travel documents to the beneficiary, who must pay for his or her travel to the United States. Once at the port of entry, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer will inspect the beneficiary, review the documents and, assuming all is in order, parole the beneficiary into the United States. The beneficiary will be issued an electronic Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, documenting his or her parole into the United States.
Initial Period of Parole
Beneficiaries approved under the HFRP Program will be paroled into the United States for an initial period of three (3) years, giving them time to apply for LPR status once their immigrant visas become available, which is expected to be within two years of being paroled into the United States.
Eligibility for Work Authorization
Parolees will be lawfully present in the United States. Once in the United States, they will be eligible to apply for work authorization by filing the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and submitting the appropriate fee, which is currently $380.
What it Means to be In Parole Status
Parole allows an individual to be lawfully present in the United States and to apply for work authorization. Parole itself does not confer any legal immigration status in the United States. However, HFRP Program beneficiaries paroled into the U.S. are expected to apply for lawful permanent resident status as soon as their immigrant visas become available—generally within two years of parole into the United States.
Public Benefits Eligibility
Once paroled into the United States, HFRP Program beneficiaries will meet the definition of Cuban/Haitian entrants under section 501(e)(1) of the Refugee Education and Assistance Act of 1980, as amended, and will be “qualified aliens” for the purposes of public benefits eligibility.
Adjustment of Status
Beneficiaries will be expected to apply for adjustment of status as soon as their immigrant visas become available, which is expected to be within two years of their parole into the United States. If visas have not become available at the time their initial parole authorization expires, HFRP Program beneficiaries will have to apply for re-parole if they are to remain lawfully present in the United States.