Information for Afghan Nationals on Requests to USCIS for Parole
If you are outside of the United States, you may request parole into the United States for a temporary period based on urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons, or someone else may request this parole for you. 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 give you immigration status or 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.
Afghan Nationals in Afghanistan
At this time, the U.S. Embassy Kabul has suspended operations, including all consular services, and USCIS cannot fully process requests for parole for individuals in Afghanistan. (See Step 6 of the Parole Process section of the Humanitarian and Significant Public Benefit Parole for Individuals Outside the United States webpage.)
If we determine that you are ineligible for parole, we will send your petitioner a denial notice. If you are currently in Afghanistan and we determine that you initially appear eligible for parole, we will send a Notice of Continued Parole Processing to your petitioner explaining 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 cannot help you leave Afghanistan. You must notify us when you arrive in a location with a U.S. embassy or consulate, following the instructions on the Notice of Continued Parole Processing. We will review your case, and if, taking into account all of the circumstances, you remain eligible for parole, we will issue a conditional approval notice and inform the U.S. embassy or consulate in your new location of the conditional approval, so they can continue processing your parole request. If you go to another country for continued processing of your parole request after you have received a Notice of Continued Parole Processing, we will work to complete consideration of your request for parole as quickly as possible. However, you should be prepared to remain in your new location for several months.
If you were in Afghanistan when your request for parole was filed, and you leave Afghanistan while your parole request is pending, please notify USCIS of your new location and contact information. Your petitioner should update your address through their (the petitioner’s) USCIS online account. If your petitioner cannot update your contact information through their USCIS online account, you, or your petitioner, if applicable, may email HumanitarianParole@uscis.dhs.gov with the subject line “Beneficiary Relocated Outside of Afghanistan” and provide your current address and contact information (phone number and email, if available), if it has changed. Due to a surge in parole requests, we are generally unable to expedite parole requests based solely on short visa validity periods in other countries. Generally, all parole requests are based on urgent needs. Your petitioner must demonstrate significant reasons for expediting your request, such as a life-threatening or other extremely urgent situation.
Afghan Nationals Outside of Afghanistan
A U.S. embassy or consulate cannot assist you with your parole request until USCIS has completed initial processing of your case. If we find that you may be eligible for parole, we will send a letter informing your petitioner that we have referred your case to the U.S. embassy for additional processing. This additional processing will include fingerprinting and additional vetting. Unless you are eligible for an exception, you must undergo medical screening and vaccinations by a panel physician at your own expense before we will approve you to travel to the United States.
While we attempt to process all urgent requests for parole quickly, processing may take several months, even for expedited cases. We currently are prioritizing parole requests for Afghan nationals outside of Afghanistan because the U.S. government is able to complete processing for those individuals at a U.S. embassy or consulate. However, we continue to process parole requests for individuals who remain in Afghanistan as well.
- Petitioner: A petitioner is the individual 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 individuals who file Form I-131 on their own behalf.
- Beneficiary: A beneficiary is an individual outside the United States who is being considered for parole or a person inside the United States seeking re-parole.
- Financial Supporter: A financial supporter is an individual who agrees to provide financial support to the beneficiary for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States by filing Form I-134, Declaration of Financial Support.
- Parolee: A parolee is an individual who is paroled into the United States.
USCIS may 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.
Afghan nationals outside of the United States 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 may contact the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for assistance.
It is U.S. government policy to generally address protection needs, including for Afghan nationals who may need protection, through international protection mechanisms, which may include resettlement 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, resettlement in another country, or resettlement in the United States through USRAP are not realistic options. 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 review the section titled “To Come to the United States for Protection from Targeted or Individualized Harm.” It provides examples of relevant evidence, including types of corroborating evidence, you will need to support a parole request.
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 types 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.
When we assess urgent humanitarian and significant public benefit reasons for parole and the exercise of discretion, we weigh positive and negative factors. For Afghan nationals applying for parole, the following characteristics will be strong positive factors that we will consider along with all other positive and negative factors:
- Immediate family of a U.S. citizen (spouse, unmarried children under 21, or parents);
- Immediate family of a U.S. lawful permanent resident (spouse or unmarried children under 21);
- Locally employed staff of the U.S. Embassy Kabul and their immediate family members (spouse and unmarried children under 21);
- Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants whose applications have received Chief of Mission (COM) approval and immediate family members (spouse and unmarried children under 21) included on their case;
- Immediate relatives of Afghan nationals previously paroled to the United States through Operation Allies Welcome. Immediate relatives include a spouse, unmarried children under 21, and, in the case of unaccompanied children or attached 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;
- Individuals referred to USRAP through a P-1 embassy referral or P-2 group designation referral and in imminent risk of refoulement (return) or serious, targeted harm in the country outside Afghanistan where they are located;
- Extended family members (including, but not limited to, parents, adult children, and siblings and their families) of Afghan nationals who have received COM approval or entered the United States with an SIV; and
- Individuals who have assisted the U.S. mission and assert risk of harm but may not be eligible for COM or SIV approval for reasons unrelated to a finding of fraud or other derogatory information (for example, where the applicant was not employed for enough time to qualify for COM or SIV approval).
Additionally, we will weigh the significant public benefit and consider parole on a case-by-case basis for individuals who were employed or volunteered in positions supporting the broader U.S. objectives in Afghanistan and who assert risk of harm due to that work.
We consider each request for parole and the evidence provided on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all the circumstances. The petitioner must prove that we should authorize parole. We will authorize parole only if we conclude, based on all the evidence the petitioner submits and any other relevant evidence available to us, that:
- There are urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons for the beneficiary to be in the United States; and
- The beneficiary merits a favorable exercise of discretion.
Anyone outside the United States may request parole for themselves as a self-petitioner. Additionally, anyone may request parole on behalf of another individual who is outside the United States; this is 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 1 envelope if you wish. If they are in 1 envelope, please separate each Form I-131 and supporting documents into separate packets.
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 1 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.
Declaration of Financial Support
You must include Form I-134, Declaration of Financial Support, and supporting documentation with each parole request. Form I-134 is used to demonstrate that the beneficiary has sufficient financial resources or financial support to pay for expenses during their temporary stay in the United States. A beneficiary may have more than 1 financial supporter complete a Form I-134 on their behalf. A beneficiary may also complete Form I-134 on their own behalf. An organization may submit a Form I-134 on behalf of a beneficiary. If an organization is the financial supporter, but an employee of an organization cannot complete Form I-134, you may include with the parole request a letter from the organization committing to financially support the beneficiary.
Congress has authorized resettlement benefits for Afghan nationals paroled into the United States from July 31, 2021, through Dec. 16, 2022, and for certain family members paroled after Dec. 16, 2022. We will take the availability of that assistance into account when we determine whether a beneficiary will have sufficient financial support after they are in the United States. For Afghan nationals paroled during the period of time that resettlement benefits are available, we will only require the financial supporter to demonstrate that they will support the beneficiary from the time they arrive in the United States until they are 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 Need for a Financial Supporter section of the Humanitarian or Significant Public Benefit Parole for Individuals Outside the United States webpage.
Beneficiary’s Contact Information
The parole request must include the beneficiary’s physical address and best contact information (email address and phone number), either in the applicable section of the Form I-131 or on a supplemental document, and you must notify USCIS of any changes to that contact information. If the beneficiary is in Afghanistan at the time the parole request is filed and is able to make private arrangements to travel to another country where there is a U.S. embassy or consulate, the petitioner should update the beneficiary’s address through their (the petitioner’s) USCIS online account or send an email to HumanitarianParole@uscis.dhs.gov with the subject line “Beneficiary Relocated Outside of Afghanistan” and provide the beneficiary’s current address and contact information (phone number and email if available), if it has changed. Beneficiaries should be prepared to remain in another country for several months while their parole request is processed.
For more information on eligibility for parole and instructions for filing, visit the Humanitarian or Significant Public Benefit Parole for Individuals Outside the United States webpage.
As explained in the Instructions for Form I-131 (PDF, 318.04 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 financial supporter;
- 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.
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. We cannot consider parole requests without address or contact information.
- Provide the beneficiary’s phone number and current address in Part 2. We cannot consider parole requests without this information, so you must provide this information as completely as possible. Providing “displaced” is not sufficient. If the beneficiary is in hiding in Afghanistan, provide the most recent complete address.
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 we 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.
The receipt number is a unique 13-character identifier that we provide for each parole request we receive. We use it to identify and track our cases. The receipt number consists of 3 letters (for example, EAC, WAC, LIN, SRC, NBC, MSC or IOE) followed by 10 numbers. You can find it on notices of action we have sent you.
In November 2021, we transferred all pending Form I-131 urgent humanitarian and significant public benefit parole requests filed on or after Sept. 1, 2021, to a new case management system. This new case management system assigned a new IOE receipt number to all pending requests. The assignment of this new receipt number does not affect the receipt date or how quickly we will process your case. You can reference either the MSC or IOE receipt number in correspondence with us about your case. If you are visiting our case status online website, you must enter the IOE receipt number.
Processing Time Frames
We normally adjudicate 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 us longer to process your case.
We are currently receiving an extremely high number of requests for parole. While we try to process all urgent requests for parole quickly and efficiently, petitioners should expect to wait significantly longer than 90 days for their parole request to be processed right now. It will take time for us to work through the unprecedented number of parole requests we have 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 (Sept. 30, 2023), if not sooner.
Submitting Supplemental Information for Pending Applications
You may submit new or additional information regarding a pending Form I-131 humanitarian or significant public benefit parole request through your USCIS online account. If we denied your case and you wish to submit new or additional information, you must file a Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, or a new Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, with supporting evidence.
Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion
If you believe we have incorrectly decided your case, you may file a motion requesting us to reconsider our decision, reopen the proceeding, or both. You may not file an administrative “appeal.”
You must file Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, within 33 days of the date on the denial notice with the proper fee amount (or Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver), if required. We may exempt the filing fee for the first Form I-290B filed for a motion to reopen or reconsider the denial of a parole request filed on behalf of an Afghan national if we denied the Form I-131 from Aug. 1, 2021, through Sept. 30, 2023. Include a copy of your denial notice with any Form I-290B you file and write “Afghan Parole” at the top of your Form I-290B. If you do not file Form I-290B within the 33-day regulatory time frame, we may deny your Form I-290B, but we will still review any associated evidence to determine whether a Service Motion to Reopen is appropriate. The Form I-290B website contains the latest information on fee, filing location, and other requirements.
Alternatively, you may file a new Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, with filing fee (or request a fee waiver which you may submit on Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver) and supporting evidence, including any significant new facts that are relevant to the request for parole.
Parole allows temporary lawful presence in the United States 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 United States, 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 60 days of arrival in the United States.
- Resettlement Benefits. Congress has authorized resettlement benefits for Afghan nationals paroled into the United States from July 31, 2021, through Sept. 30, 2023, and for certain family members paroled after Sept. 30, 2023. Contact a local resettlement agency after you arrive in the United States for more information on resettlement benefits. Find a list of resettlement agencies at the Refugee Processing Center’s R&P Agency Contacts webpage under “R&P Affiliate Directory.”
- Address Change. Parolees who reside in the United States longer than 30 days must report their physical address in the United States. If your address changes after you enter the United States, you must notify us within 10 days of the change, either:
- Using our online change of address form; or
- Through your existing USCIS online account (if you have an account). For more information on how to create an online account, visit the How to Create a USCIS Online Account.
- Re-parole. You may request re-parole (a new parole period) for USCIS-issued 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.
- Employment Authorization. File Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to request employment authorization under category (c)(11) after you have been 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 U.S. port of entry. If the beneficiary leaves the United States, their parole will end when 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-131 for advance parole before traveling abroad. For information on how to apply for advance parole while in the United States, please see Form I-131, Application for Travel Document (PDF, 318.04 KB). A parole beneficiary may also apply for a visa or request parole again from outside of the United States 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, 219.42 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 for Withholding of Removal. You must apply for asylum within 1 year of the date of your last arrival in the United States, unless you can show:
- Changed circumstances materially affecting your eligibility for asylum or extraordinary circumstances relating to your delay in filing; and
- You filed within a reasonable amount of time under the circumstances to be eligible for an exception.
If you file an asylum application while your parole is valid or in a reasonable period of time after your parole expired, we generally will consider that an extraordinary circumstance. Visit USCIS’ Asylum webpage for more information.
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.
If you have been persecuted or fear persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion and are outside of Afghanistan, your local UNHCR office can provide assistance. If you are in Afghanistan and believe you are in need of protection, you may contact awaazaf.org or call the Awaaz humanitarian helpline directly at 410.
For more information on access to USRAP, visit the Department of State Refugee Admissions website. You may receive access to USRAP through a UNHCR referral, a U.S. embassy referral, or an Affidavit of Relationship filed by certain family members who were admitted to the United States as a refugee, asylee, or special immigrant. In addition, the Department of State announced a new USRAP Priority 2 designation in 2021 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 a Special Immigrant Visa (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.
- 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
- Form I-131, Application for Travel Document
- Form I-134, Declaration of Financial Support
- Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver
- Additional Information on Filing a Fee Waiver