Information for Afghan Nationals on Requests to USCIS for Humanitarian Parole

Background:

If you are outside of the United States, you or someone on your behalf may request parole into the United States for a temporary period based on urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons. USCIS authorizes parole on a case-by-case basis and specifies the duration of the parole. While parole allows for temporary lawful presence in the United States, it does not confer immigration status and does not provide a path to lawful permanent residence (a Green Card) or another lawful immigration status. If you receive parole, you will remain an applicant for admission and may be able to apply for lawful status in the United States, if you are otherwise eligible.

Afghans in Afghanistan

If you are in Afghanistan, you may file a request for parole, or someone may file one for you. At this time, we are unable to complete processing of your parole request while you are in Afghanistan because the U.S. Embassy in Kabul is closed and all normal consular services in Afghanistan have been suspended. If we determine that you may be eligible for parole, we will issue a notice informing you that you must arrange your own travel outside of Afghanistan to a country where there is a U.S. embassy or consulate before we can fully process your parole request.

USCIS is unable to help you leave Afghanistan at this time. If you were in Afghanistan when your request for parole was filed, and you subsequently leave Afghanistan, please notify USCIS of your new location.  If you go to a third country for further processing as a potential parole beneficiary, we will work to complete consideration of your request for parole as expeditiously as possible. However, you should be prepared to remain there for several months.

Afghans Outside of Afghanistan

A U.S. embassy or consulate cannot help USCIS complete processing of your parole request until USCIS has completed initial processing of your case. If we find that you may be eligible for parole, we will issue a letter informing you that we have referred your case to the U.S. embassy for additional processing. This additional processing will include taking your fingerprints and additional vetting. Unless an exception applies, you must undergo medical screening and vaccinations at your own expense by a panel physician before you will be approved to travel to the United States.

While we attempt to process all urgent requests for parole quickly, the processing may take several months.  We currently are prioritizing the parole applications for Afghan nationals outside of Afghanistan given the availability of completing processing for those individuals at a U.S. embassy or consulate, but we continue to process parole applications for individuals in Afghanistan as well. 

Terminology
  • Petitioner: A petitioner is the person completing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, on behalf of an individual outside the United States who is seeking parole (or re-parole as explained below). “Self-petitioners” are people who file Form I-131 for themselves.
  • Beneficiary: A beneficiary may be an individual outside the United States who receives parole or a person in the United States seeking re-parole.
  • Sponsor: A sponsor is an individual who agrees to provide financial support for the beneficiary of a parole application by filing Form I-134, Affidavit of Support  (PDF, 463.53 KB).
  • Parolee: A parolee is an individual who is paroled into the United States.
Eligibility

USCIS may exercise discretion to authorize parole on a case-by-case basis for individuals with urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons to come to the United States for a temporary period.

We encourage anyone seeking parole to read the Guidance on Evidence for Certain Types of Humanitarian or Significant Public Benefit Parole Requests webpage. It is important to carefully review the type of evidence you may need to support a request for parole. We can process your application more quickly and efficiently if you submit all required documentation and evidence when you first apply.

Parole is not intended to replace established refugee processing channels. Afghan nationals who are seeking protection due to past persecution or feared future persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion should review the following information regarding refugee resettlement.

It is U.S. government policy to process protection needs, including for most Afghan nationals in need of protection, through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). However, in some limited circumstances, protection needs are so urgent that obtaining protection through the host government or via the USRAP is not a realistic option. For parole requests based on protection needs, please visit the Guidance on Evidence for Certain Types of Humanitarian and Significant Public Benefit Parole Requests webpage and click on the section related to coming to the United States for protection. It provides examples of relevant evidence, including types of corroborating evidence, you will need to support a parole request.

When USCIS assesses urgent humanitarian and significant public benefit reasons for parole and the exercise of discretion, the following characteristics of a parole beneficiary will be a strong positive factor:

  • Immediate family of a U.S. Citizen (spouse, unmarried children under 21, and parents);
  • Immediate family of a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident (spouse and unmarried children under 21);
  • Locally Employed Staff of Embassy Kabul and their immediate family (spouse and unmarried children under 21);
  • Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants whose applications have received Chief of Mission approval and immediate family members included on their case;
  • Immediate relatives of Afghan nationals previously relocated to the United States through OAW (spouse, unmarried children under 21, and, in the case of unaccompanied minors, their primary caregiver, including but not limited to a parent or legal guardian, and the spouse and dependent children under 21 of the primary caregiver); and
  • Individuals referred to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) through a P1 Embassy Referral or P2 group designation referral and in imminent risk of refoulement (return) or serious, targeted harm in the country outside Afghanistan where they are located.
How to Apply:

Anyone outside the United States may request parole for themselves as a self-petitioner. Additionally, anyone may request parole on behalf of another individual; this is otherwise known as a petitioner requesting parole for a beneficiary. You must file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, with USCIS to request parole. Please check the “Humanitarian Parole” section of our Filing Addresses for Form I-131 webpage for information on where to mail your application.

You must complete a separate Form I-131 for each family member. However, you may submit them together in one envelope if desired.

Requesting to Waive the Filing Fee

The Form I-131 must include the applicable filing fee or fee waiver request (using Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or a written request). See the Additional Information on Filing a Fee Waiver webpage. Petitioners should request a fee waiver based on their inability to pay. If you are filing on behalf of someone else, request a fee waiver based on your own inability to pay, not the beneficiary’s.

You may file one Form I-912 or written fee waiver request for all family-related applications filed at the same time. Each individual requesting a fee waiver must sign the Form I-912 or the written fee waiver request. If you are unable to provide documents demonstrating your inability to pay the filing fee as the petitioner, you must provide a detailed explanation. If you provide this detailed explanation, and you are otherwise eligible for a fee waiver, we may grant your request for fee waiver without supporting documents.

Affidavit of Support

You must include Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, and supporting documentation with each parole request. This form serves as evidence of a sponsor who has agreed to provide financial support to the parolee while paroled in the United States. There may be multiple sponsors, a beneficiary may self-sponsor, or an organization may support a parolee by submitting a Form I-134. If an organization is the sponsor, but an employee of an organization cannot complete Form I-134, you may include with the parole application a letter from the organization committing to support the parolee. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that all parole beneficiaries have a means of support upon arrival in the United States and while paroled.

Congress has authorized resettlement benefits for Afghan nationals paroled into the United States from July 31, 2021 and Sept. 30, 2022, and for certain family members paroled after Sept. 30, 2022. We will take the availability of that assistance into account when we determine whether a parolee will have sufficient support once in the United States. For Afghan nationals paroled during the period of time that resettlement benefits are available, we will only require the sponsor to demonstrate that they will support the parolee from the time the parolee arrives in the United States until the parolee is able to obtain resettlement benefits, which could be several weeks.

Information regarding financial support during the parole period should include any special needs of the beneficiary. See the Humanitarian or Significant Public Benefit Parole for Individuals Outside the United States webpage (“The Need for a Sponsor” section).

Beneficiary’s Contact Information

The parole application must include the beneficiary’s best contact information (email address, phone number, and physical address), either on the Form I-131’s applicable section or on a supplemental document, and you must notify USCIS of any changes to that contact information. Once the beneficiary is able to make private arrangements to travel to a third country where there is a U.S. embassy or consulate, the beneficiary must email USCIS immediately at HumanitarianParole@uscis.dhs.gov with the subject line “Beneficiary Relocated Outside of Afghanistan” and provide their current address and contact information (phone number and email if available), if it has changed.

More Information

For more information on eligibility for humanitarian parole and instructions for filing, visit the Humanitarian or Significant Public Benefit Parole for Individuals Outside the United States webpage.

Filing Checklist

As explained in the Instructions for Form I-131 (PDF, 327.03 KB), humanitarian or significant public benefit parole requests must include:

  • A completed and signed Form I-131 (see Filing Tips section below);
  • The required fee (or a completed and signed Form I-912 or written request to waive the fee) (see Filing Tips section below);
  • A copy of official photo identity documents for the beneficiary, petitioner, and sponsor;
  • A copy of the beneficiary’s passport identity page, or another government-issued identity document establishing the beneficiary’s citizenship with an explanation why a passport is not available (if no government-issued identity document is available, there must be some secondary form of an identity document with an explanation as to why a government-issued identity document is not available);
  • A description and supporting evidence of the urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reason for parole, including documentation of any need for expedited handling, and the length of time the beneficiary needs parole;
  • A completed Form I-134 with appropriate documentation, as described in the form instructions;
  • If the beneficiary cannot obtain a U.S. visa or use established refugee processing channels, a statement explaining why;
  • If the beneficiary cannot obtain a waiver of inadmissibility, a statement explaining why; and
  • If the beneficiary has any pending immigrant or nonimmigrant applications or petitions, evidence of those applications or petitions and a copy of any decision on them.
Filing Tips

Before submitting the application, read the form instructions carefully. Make sure you do the following:

For Form I-131, Application for Travel Document:

  • Sign Form I-131 in Part 8, 1.a, “Signature of Applicant.”
    • The signature must be valid; it cannot be electronic.
    • The person filing the application must sign the “Signature of Applicant” field. If you are applying on behalf of someone outside the United States, you should sign the application (not the beneficiary outside the United States).
    • If an attorney, accredited representative, or other individual helped you prepare this form, they must complete Part 9, “Information About Person Who Prepared This Application, If Other Than the Applicant,” and also sign and date the form.
  • Provide your address in Part 1. If you are applying on behalf of someone outside the United States, fill out Part 1 with your information. USCIS cannot consider parole requests without address information.
  • Provide the beneficiary’s phone number and current address in Part 2. USCIS cannot consider parole requests without the beneficiary’s contact information. Providing “displaced” is not sufficient.

Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or written request for fee waiver:

  • Please read our Additional Information on Filing a Fee Waiver webpage.
  • If you are not submitting the fee for Form I-131, you must submit Form I-912 (or a written request for a fee waiver) and the required supporting documentation or USCIS will reject Form I-131 due to a missing fee.
  • Sign Form I-912 in Part 7, Item Number 6., “Requestor’s Signature,” or sign the written request.
    • The signature must be valid; it cannot be electronic.
    • The petitioner who is filing Form I-131 should sign Form I-912 in this section (or sign the written request). If you are applying on behalf of someone outside the United States, you should sign the request (not the beneficiary outside the United States).
  • Include supporting documentation to explain why the person filing Form I-131 cannot pay the filing fee.
  • Submit supporting documentation of the financial hardship of the person making the request. If you are requesting parole on behalf of someone else, then the supporting documentation should be about your financial hardship, and not the beneficiary’s.

If you cannot obtain documentation, provide a description of the financial hardship and why you cannot provide evidence of income, if applicable.

After Arrival in the United States:

Parole allows temporary lawful presence in the U.S. but is not a lawful immigration status and does not provide a path to lawful immigration status. After you arrive in the United States, you must take additional steps before your parole expires to ensure you remain legally present after your authorized period of parole in the United States ends. If you fail to maintain lawful presence throughout your entire stay in the U.S., it can have serious immigration consequences.

  • Conditions of Parole. If you were notified that you must complete medical screening or vaccinations as a condition of parole, you must complete these requirements and report compliance on the USCIS vaccination website within 30 days of arrival in the United States.

 

  • Resettlement Benefits. Congress has authorized resettlement benefits for Afghan nationals paroled into the United States between July 31, 2021 Sept. 30, 2022, and for certain family members paroled after Sept. 30, 2022. Contact a local resettlement agency after arrival in the United States for further information on access to resettlement benefits. A list of resettlement agencies can be found at the Refugee Processing Center’s R&P Agency Contacts webpage under “R&P Affiliate Directory.”

 

  • Address Change. If your address changes after you enter the United States, you must notify us within 10 days of the change, either:
  • Re-parole. You may request re-parole (an additional time period of parole) by filing a new Form I-131 at least 90 days before your parole expires. Include:
    • The required fee (or Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or a written request for a fee waiver);
    • A new Form I-134; and
    • Updated supporting evidence to demonstrate the need to remain in the United States on re-parole.
  • Work Authorization. File Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to request employment authorization under category (c)(11) after being paroled into the United States.
  • Leaving the United States. A parole document provided to a beneficiary outside the United States is valid to be presented only once for parole at the port of entry. If the beneficiary leaves the United States, their parole will end once they depart. If they wish to travel abroad and then return to the United States as a parolee, they may file a separate application on a new Form I-131for advance parole before traveling abroad. For information on how to apply for advance parole while in the United States, please see Form I-131 instructions (PDF, 327.03 KB). The beneficiary may also apply for a visa or again request parole from outside of the United States in order to return.
  • Green Card. If you are the beneficiary of an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and a visa is available, you may file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to apply to adjust your status to lawful permanent resident and obtain a Green Card.
  • Follow-to-Join Relatives. If you are the beneficiary of an approved Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition  (PDF, 210.56 KB), you may have obtained immigration status as an asylee or refugee when you entered the United States. You should call the USCIS Contact Center to request an appointment with the USCIS field office with jurisdiction over your residence to confirm your immigration status.
  • Asylum. If you believe you have suffered persecution or fear you will suffer persecution due to your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, you may file Form I-589, Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal. Visit USCIS’ Asylum webpage for more information.
Additional Information on Refugee Processing and Special Immigrant Visas:

Parole is not intended to be used solely to avoid normal visa processing procedures or timelines, to bypass inadmissibility waiver processing, or to replace established refugee processing channels.

Afghan nationals who have been persecuted or fear persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion may be eligible for resettlement in the United States or another country. Contact the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for potential referral for resettlement.

For more information on access to USRAP, visit the Department of State Refugee Admissions website. The Department of State recently announced a new USRAP Priority 2 designation for certain Afghan nationals who have worked with the U.S. government, on U.S. government-funded programs or projects, or for U.S.-based non-governmental organizations and media organizations.

The U.S. government is committed to quickly and efficiently processing applications for Afghan nationals who may be eligible for an SIV. For more information on eligibility for an SIV, visit the Department of State webpage Special Immigrant Visas for Afghans – Who Were Employed by/on Behalf of the U.S. Government.

Related Links
Last Reviewed/Updated: