Frequently Asked Questions About Urgent Humanitarian and Significant Public Benefit Parole for Afghans
USCIS has received several questions regarding the parole process and how it may apply to Afghan nationals attempting to come to the United States. We are committed to providing accurate information on our website in response to public inquiries and will add frequently asked questions over time.
How can an Afghan national begin the parole process?
Please visit our Information for Afghan Nationals on Requests to USCIS for Humanitarian Parole webpage for information on requesting urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit parole. You can find more information about required forms, eligibility criteria, and the process to request parole on our Humanitarian and Significant Public Benefit Parole webpage.
What are the eligibility criteria for parole when there are urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons?
We consider each parole request and the evidence provided on a case-by-case basis, considering all of the circumstances. (See Section 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.) It is long-standing U.S. government policy to generally address protection needs, including for Afghan nationals who may need protection, through the international refugee protection regime, which may include resettlement through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP).
In some cases, protection needs are so urgent that obtaining protection through the host government or through USRAP is not realistic. A petitioner must establish that we should authorize parole because the person is in imminent risk of harm. Our Guidance on Evidence for Certain Types of Humanitarian or Significant Public Benefit Parole Requests webpage provides general information to help you understand some factors we consider when determining whether to authorize parole for protection from targeted or individualized harm. You can find more information regarding who may be eligible for parole on our parole website.
If my family member who is currently outside of the United States may be eligible for a family-based immigration petition, should I submit Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, before filing for parole? What if they are eligible for another immigrant or nonimmigrant visa?
Parole is not intended to be used solely to avoid normal visa processing procedures and timelines, to bypass inadmissibility waiver processing, or to replace established refugee processing channels. However, if there are urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons for parole, being an immediate family member (parent, spouse, or unmarried child under 21) of a U.S. citizen or an immediate family member (spouse or unmarried child under 21) of a lawful permanent resident is a strong positive factor when we consider all the circumstances and decide whether to approve a request for parole. We consider an approved Form I-130 as a favorable factor if normal visa processing is not possible or would take too long to address an urgent need. For additional information on requesting parole for Afghan nationals, please see Information for Afghan Nationals on Requests to USCIS for Humanitarian Parole.
How do I request that my case be expedited?
You may request expedited processing by writing the word EXPEDITE in black ink in the top right corner of the humanitarian parole application (Form I-131, Application for Travel Document). Generally, all requests for parole are based on urgent needs, so you must demonstrate significant reasons for expediting the request, such as a life-threatening or other extremely urgent situation. It is also important to submit evidence to support your request to expedite. We will consider expedite requests on a case-by-case basis. If the beneficiary’s circumstances have changed since they initially requested parole and there is an urgent need for expedited processing, the petitioner or representative of record may submit an expedite request, along with any supporting evidence, via email to HumanitarianParole@uscis.dhs.gov. Please include “expedite request” and the receipt number in the subject of the email.
How will requesting a fee waiver affect my case?
If we accept your fee waiver, it has no effect on the underlying merits of your case. However, if we deny your fee waiver request, we will reject your parole request and you will need to refile with the required fee or with evidence to address the reason we denied your fee waiver request.
Do you require certified translations for documents that are not in English?
Yes. If you submit any documents (copies or original documents, if requested) in a foreign language, you must include a full English translation along with a certification from the translator verifying that the translation is complete and accurate, and that they are competent to translate from the foreign language to English.
Do I need a passport to receive parole?
You must establish your identity to us when we adjudicate your parole request. If we conditionally approve you for parole, you must also establish your identity during an appointment with a Department of State consular officer before you receive your travel document. To establish identity, you must submit a copy of your passport identity page, or another government-issued identity document establishing your citizenship, with an explanation why your passport is not available. If you do not have any government-issued identity document available, you must provide some secondary form of an identity document with an explanation why a government-issued identity document is not available. Secondary forms of evidence may include, but are not limited to, religious documents, medical documents, school records, or employment records. We cannot help Afghan nationals obtain passports from the Afghan government or obtain entry or exit permission from third countries that require a passport for travel.
Which consular offices can complete consular processing for parole requests?
A U.S. embassy or consulate cannot help a parole beneficiary until USCIS has completed initial processing of the parole request and issued a conditional approval notice. All U.S. embassies and consulates that provide visa services help with parole processing, although appointment availability may vary due to COVID-19. For additional information, visit the website for the U.S. embassy or consulate where the beneficiary currently resides. See this Official List of Embassies from the U.S. Department of State.
Can minors apply as a principal beneficiary for parole?
Because there is no derivative status associated with parole, a Form I-131 must be filed for each individual, including minors. Anyone outside the United States may request parole for themselves as a self-petitioner, regardless of age. Additionally, anyone may request parole on behalf of another individual who is outside of the United States, regardless of that person’s age. Our Guidance on Evidence for Certain Types of Humanitarian or Significant Public Benefit Parole Requests webpage provides additional information on filing parole requests for children.
If an organization is filing the Form I-131, do they need to include personal information (Social Security number, date of birth, country of origin) for an employee of that organization?
The petitioner or individual who is filing the Form I-131 must complete all fields in Part 1 of the form and must sign and attest that all information in the application and evidence submitted is true in Part 8. The petitioner must also submit a clear and legible copy of a government-issued photo identification document that shows their name and date of birth. For example:
- A current employment authorization document, if available;
- A valid government-issued driver’s license;
- Passport identity page;
- Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card (Green Card); or
- Any other official identity document.
How long does it take USCIS to adjudicate a request for parole?
Normally, the USCIS Humanitarian Affairs Branch adjudicates most parole requests within 90 days of receipt. If you do not submit required evidence at the time of filing, or if we need to ask you for additional information, it will take longer to process your case.
USCIS is currently receiving an extremely high number of requests for parole. In an average year, we generally receive approximately 1,500 to 2,000 parole requests from all nationalities. Between Aug. 1, 2021, and July 31, 2022, USCIS received more than 57,000 parole requests for all nationalities, including 49,000 on behalf of Afghan nationals. We have diverted staff from other workloads to help with the unprecedented number of parole requests. While we try to process all urgent requests for parole quickly and efficiently, currently petitioners should expect to wait significantly longer than 90 days for us to process your parole request. It will take time for us to work through the extremely high number of parole requests received since fall 2021 and return to normal processing times. We are taking the necessary steps to return to target processing times by the end of fiscal year 2023, if not sooner.
Will updating my address affect the processing time?
It is essential that we have the best contact information (email address, phone number, and physical address) for both the petitioner and the beneficiary in a parole request, either in the applicable section of the Form I-131 or on a supplemental document. You must notify us if either person’s contact information changes.
We are currently prioritizing parole requests for Afghan beneficiaries outside of Afghanistan, in countries where beneficiaries can complete parole processing at a U.S. embassy or consulate if we conditionally approve their parole request. However, we continue to process parole requests for individuals in Afghanistan, as well.
Can I get a refund for my humanitarian parole request if USCIS has not yet adjudicated it?
When you send a payment, you agree to pay for a government service. Filing and biometric services fees are final and non-refundable, regardless of any action taken on your application, petition, or request, or whether you withdraw your request. We will inform the public if we decide to refund any fees or make any other changes to the policy.
If a parole applicant gives birth while USCIS is processing their parole request, will the new baby need a Form I-131?
Yes, we require a Form I-131 for each beneficiary requesting parole into the United States. We consider each parole request on a case-by-case basis. The petitioner should include the names, dates of birth, and receipt numbers (if available) of any parole requests for the parents of a minor child when they file the child’s parole request. Our Guidance on Evidence for Certain Types of Humanitarian or Significant Public Benefit Parole Requests webpage provides additional information on filing parole requests for children.
Can you process my parole request while I am still in Afghanistan?
USCIS can begin processing your parole request even if you are still in Afghanistan. If we find you are ineligible for parole, we will issue you a denial notice. However, we cannot conditionally approve a parole request until you are in a location with a U.S. embassy or consulate. If we find you initially appear eligible for parole, we will issue a Notice of Continued Parole Processing to your petitioner, which notifies them that you must arrange your own travel to a country where there is a U.S. embassy or consulate to complete processing of your parole request.
Your petitioner must notify USCIS once you are in a location with a U.S. embassy or consulate and able to continue processing the parole request. We will then review your parole request and, if we do not find any new derogatory (negative) information and you remain eligible for parole, we will issue your petitioner a conditional approval notice and notify the U.S. embassy or consulate in your location of the conditional approval. The conditional approval notice will provide information on next steps in the process, including completing Form DS-160, Application for Nonimmigrant Visa. You must generally be prepared to remain in a third country for several months while we process your parole request.
If you approve my parole request, will you help me leave Afghanistan?
No, we cannot help you leave Afghanistan. Parole allows you to enter the United States and be present in the United States lawfully on a temporary basis. It does not help you leave another country.
I applied for parole when I was in Afghanistan. How do I notify USCIS when I am able to leave Afghanistan?
After you leave Afghanistan and arrive in a third country where there is a U.S. embassy or consulate, you must email HumanitarianParole@uscis.dhs.gov with the subject line “Beneficiary Relocated Outside of Afghanistan” and provide your current address and contact information (including phone number and email, if available).
When I am able to travel to a third country after applying for parole, do I need to demonstrate that I am still at risk for harm?
If you travel to a different country than the country you were in when you filed your parole request, we will request updated information about your circumstances. However, if we already processed your parole request and issued you a Conditional Approval Notice or a Notice of Continued Parole Processing, we will generally continue to review your request favorably, unless the changed circumstances make you ineligible for parole. For example, if the basis for parole was urgent medical needs, but you travel to a country where you have access to medical care to address those medical needs, we may deny your parole request. However, if we found you may be eligible for parole based on imminent risk of severe harm in Afghanistan, and you are able to get to a third country where you are not firmly resettled or do not have other access to protection, we generally would continue to consider your request favorably, if you meet all other requirements, such as clearing any necessary security vetting.
How do I receive travel documents after USCIS conditionally approves my parole request?
If we conditionally approve your parole request, the conditional approval notice will inform your petitioner that you must complete Form DS-160 and appear for an appointment with the Department of State consular section to verify your identity and collect biometrics for additional security vetting. If you are age 14 or older, you must provide biometrics. In addition, you must provide the consular officer with documentation from the panel physician that you have completed all medical requirements outlined in the conditional approval notice before your consular interview. If no derogatory (negative) information or new identity information is identified and you complete all medical requirements, the U.S. embassy or consulate will issue a document called a boarding foil that will allow you to board a commercial carrier to travel to the United States within 30 days of the date of issuance on the boarding foil.
What is the time frame between conditional approval and getting a boarding foil to travel to the United States?
When we issue a conditional approval notice to the petitioner, we also issue an authorization memo to the U.S. embassy or consulate that the petitioner listed in Part 3 of their Form I-131. For Afghan parolees, the memo authorizes the U.S. embassy or consulate to process the parole request within 120 days of issuance of the authorization memo. If the U.S. embassy or consulate cannot issue a boarding foil within 120 days of the issuance of the authorization memo, they must contact USCIS to determine whether we can issue a new authorization memo.
What is the policy on virtual interviews for parole?
Parole requires in-person processing at a U.S. embassy or consulate, which includes verifying identity in person, collecting fingerprints, and an interview.
What are the photo requirements for Afghan parole beneficiaries? Can I wear a head covering?
Your petitioner must submit a photo of you with the Form I-131. If we conditionally approve your parole request, the conditional approval notice will inform the petitioner that you must complete Form DS-160 and appear for an appointment with the Department of State consular section to verify your identity and collect biometrics, including a photo, for additional security vetting. All beneficiaries 14 years and older must provide a photo at their consular appointment.
USCIS follows the Department of State’s photo requirements, including the requirements regarding head coverings.
How far in advance should I submit a request for re-parole (a new parole period) to avoid having a gap in status?
Parole ends on the date when:
- Your parole period expires;
- Your parole is revoked;
- You leave the United States; or
- You obtain an immigration status, whichever happens first.
Parole is temporary and not renewable, but in some instances, a parolee may need to remain in the United States beyond the period of authorized parole. In such instances, you may request re-parole from within the United States.
If you were originally authorized parole by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) under Operation Allies Welcome at a U.S. port of entry, the Department of Homeland Security is considering options for the re-parole process, and we will provide further guidance on our website once it is available.
If your initial period of parole was authorized under a USCIS-approved Form I-131, you may request re-parole from us. Visit the Information for Afghan Nationals on Requests to USCIS for Humanitarian Parole page and look in the section After Arrival in the United States and subsection Re-parole. To request re-parole from us, file a new Form I-131 at least 90 days before your parole expires. Find more information on filing re-parole requests at the Humanitarian or Significant Public Benefit Parole for Individuals Outside the United States page.
If you file a request for re-parole, include:
If USCIS denies my parole request, will that have a negative impact on a future request for parole?
If we deny your request for parole, that alone will not affect a future parole request. However, if you submit a new request without new or additional information that affects your eligibility for parole, we likely will deny your new request for the same reason we denied your initial request. We consider each parole request and the evidence provided on a case-by-case basis, considering all of the circumstances. However, you must establish that the basis for your parole request is either urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit and that you merit a favorable exercise of discretion.
For more information, see Humanitarian or Significant Public Benefit Parole for Individuals Outside the United States.
Information for Afghans
- Information for Afghan Nationals
- Information for Afghan Nationals on Requests to USCIS for Humanitarian Parole
- Humanitarian or Significant Public Benefit Parole for Individuals Outside the United States
- Guidance on Evidence for Certain Types of Humanitarian or Significant Public Benefit Parole Requests
Special Immigrant Visas for Afghan Nationals
Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)
- Green Card Eligibility Categories
- Green Card for an Afghan Who Was Employed by or on Behalf of the U.S. Government
Report your change of address to USCIS when you move