The Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program
Created in 2007, the CFRP Program allows certain eligible U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to apply for parole for their family members in Cuba. If granted parole, these family members may come to the United States without waiting for their immigrant visas to become available. Once in the United States, CFRP Program beneficiaries may apply for work authorization while they wait to apply for lawful permanent resident status.
Eligibility for CFRP
If you filed a Form I-130 for your relative, you are known as the petitioner and your relative is known as the beneficiary. You may be eligible to apply for parole for your relatives in Cuba under the CFRP program if:
- You are either a U.S. citizen or LPR;
- You have an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for a Cuban family member;
- An immigrant visa is not yet available for your relative; and
- You received an invitation from the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) to participate in the CFRP Program. Please see the “Applying for CFRP” section below for more details.
To be eligible, the principal beneficiary must:
- Be a Cuban national living in Cuba; and
- Have a petitioner who has been invited to participate in the CFRP Program.
NOTE: Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are not eligible for CFRP, because they can apply for immigrant visas once their Form I-130 is approved. Immediate relatives are spouses, unmarried children under 21 years old, and parents over 21 years old.
Applying for CFRP
Do not apply for the CFRP program until the NVC invites you to do so. Potential beneficiaries in Cuba cannot apply for themselves.
If you are a petitioner and believe you may be eligible for the CFRP program, please make sure the NVC has your current mailing address. Contact the NVC by submitting a Public Inquiry Form online.
The documents you must submit depend on when the NVC invited you to apply for the CFRP Program.
If you received an eligibility notice from the NVC before Dec. 18, 2014, and…
You submitted all necessary documents to apply for the CFRP program before Feb. 17, 2015 (Documents are submitted if they are postmarked before Feb. 17, 2015.)
You do not need to submit a form or fee to apply for parole under the CFRP program.
You did not apply to the CFRP Program by submitting all necessary documents to the NVC before Feb. 17, 2015
You must wait for the NVC to send you a new written invitation before you can apply for the CFRP Program.
Once you receive the invitation, you must::
The invitation letter will specify where and how to file the application. You cannot submit any application materials to USCIS before receiving an invitation letter from the NVC.
We will reject CFRP applications submitted on or after Feb. 17, 2015, that do not include the completed Form I-131 and fee (or a fee waiver request).
If you have not received a written invitation from the NVC:
You must wait for the NVC to send you a written invitation before you can apply for the CFRP Program. The invitation letter will specify where and how to file the application.
You must file a Form I-131, Application for Travel Document; and pay the filing fee for each CFRP Program application you submit for a family member, or apply for fee waiver by submitting a Form I-912, Request for a Fee Waiver. For instructions, please see Additional Information on Filing a Fee Waiver.
Being Granted Parole under the CFRP Program
We will review the evidence you provide with your CFRP application. If the application appears approvable, the NVC will forward it to the U.S. Embassy in Havana. USCIS staff will interview your beneficiary in Havana to determine whether to grant parole. Beneficiaries will also have to provide biometrics (fingerprints and photos).
The grant of parole is not automatic. We will use our discretion to authorize parole on a case-by-case basis. We will generally only authorize parole to beneficiaries who:
- Meet all the CFRP eligibility requirements;
- Meet all eligibility requirements for an immigrant visa (except for the requirement that the immigrant visa number be available);
- Pass background checks;
- Pass a medical examination;
- Are admissible to the United States; and
- Warrant a favorable exercise of discretion.
Cubans who have committed serious crimes or who fail to pass background checks will not be authorized parole.
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After USCIS Grants Parole
If we grant parole under the CFRP Program, USCIS Havana staff will issue the necessary travel documents to your beneficiary in Cuba. These travel documents will allow the beneficiary to travel to the United States and seek parole from a CBP officer at a port of entry.
Beneficiaries should not take any irrevocable actions—such as selling or buying property, terminating employment, or withdrawing from school—until they have their CFRP travel document in their hands.
The CFRP program is not right for everyone.
- We cannot guarantee that the parole program will provide faster reunification with family than the immigrant visa process in every case. Whether the parole program or the immigrant visa process is a faster way for your relative to join you in the United States depends on a number of factors, such as:
- How soon your relative’s immigrant visa will be available;
- How quickly you apply for parole on your relative’s behalf;
- Whether we must request additional information from you to establish your relative’s eligibility for the program; and
- How soon after approval your relative travels to the United States.
- The fees associated with participating in the CFRP program versus waiting outside the United States for the immigrant visa differ.
- An individual paroled under the CFRP Program is expected to apply for lawful permanent resident status (a Green Card) after being present in the United State for at least one year or when his or her visa becomes “current” (meaning available).
- An individual who waits outside the United States for an immigrant visa to become available and undergoes immigrant visa processing enters the United States as an LPR and is authorized to work once admitted, so no additional costs are required to apply for work authorization.
The Immigration and Nationality Act gives us the authority to use discretion to grant parole for urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons.
Parole allows an individual to be lawfully present in the U.S., to apply for work authorization, and to work upon receipt of the work authorization. Parole itself does not give any legal immigration status in the United States.
However, the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act as amended permits Cubans paroled into the United States to apply to become LPRs after being present in the United States for one year.
A Cuban paroled into the U.S. under the CFRP Program meets the definition of a Cuban entrant.
If an immigrant visa becomes available while someone is being processed for parole under the CFRP Program, that person may choose to continue with the parole process. Alternatively, the person may choose to be processed by the Department of State for an immigrant visa, in which case, they will be required to pay any fees associated with that process. We will not refund the CFRP Program application fee.
The 1994 and 1995 U.S.-Cuba migration accords commit the United States to ensuring that total legal migration to the United States from Cuba will be a minimum of 20,000 Cubans each year, not including immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. In 2007, USCIS launched the CFRP program to help the United States meet its annual obligations under the accords.
- Memorandum of Agreement between CBP, ICE and USCIS regarding Parole Authority (PDF)
- USCIS Filling Fees
- Additional Information on Filing a Fee Waiver
- U.S. Embassy in Cuba, Cuban Family Reunification Parole (CFRP) Program
- Cuban Medical Professional Parole (CMPP) Program
- DHS Announcement on Changes to Parole and Expedited Removal Policies Affecting Cuban Nationals (Jan. 12, 2017)