USCIS Establishes Family Reunification Parole Process for Ecuador
Process will allow family members to reunite in the United States while they wait for immigrant visas to become available
WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced a Federal Register notice implementing a new family reunification parole (FRP) process for Ecuador, advancing the Biden-Harris Administration’s successful combination of expanded lawful pathways and strengthened enforcement to reduce irregular migration. The FRP processes promote family unity and are one of the comprehensive measures announced in April to promote safe and orderly migratory pathways, consistent with the objectives in the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection.
The new FRP process is by invitation only for certain nationals of Ecuador and allows an eligible beneficiary to be considered for parole into the United States on a case-by-case basis while they wait for their family-based immigrant visa to become available. This process is intended to reunite families more quickly and provide an alternative to dangerous irregular migration.
Certain nationals of Ecuador who are beneficiaries of an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, may be eligible to be considered for parole under the new FRP processes. Qualifying beneficiaries must be outside the United States, must meet all requirements, including screening and vetting and medical requirements, and must not have already received an immigrant visa.
The process begins with the Department of State issuing an invitation to initiate the process to certain U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident petitioners whose Form I-130 filed on behalf of an Ecuadorian principal beneficiary has been approved. Beneficiaries waiting for an immigrant visa could include certain children and siblings of U.S. citizens and certain spouses and children of permanent residents. The invited petitioner can then file a request to be a supporter of the beneficiary and eligible family members, who may then be considered for advance travel authorization and parole.
USCIS will begin using Form I-134A, Online Request to be a Supporter and Declaration of Financial Support, for this process on Nov. 17, 2023.
As with all parole requests, under this FRP process for certain nationals of Ecuador, parole will be authorized only on a case-by-case and temporary basis after determining that there are urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons for authorizing parole and that the beneficiary warrants a favorable exercise of discretion. Noncitizens paroled into the United States under this process will generally be considered for parole for up to three years and can request employment authorization while they wait for their immigrant visa to become available. When their immigrant visa becomes available, they may apply to become a lawful permanent resident.
Section 212(d)(5)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas with the discretionary authority to parole applicants for admission into the United States temporarily on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons. Previous secretaries have exercised the parole authority to establish other family reunification parole processes administered by USCIS, including the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program in 2007 and the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program in 2014. DHS announced new FRP processes for Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in July and the modernization of FRP processes for Cuba and Haiti in August.
The Federal Register notice explains the application process and eligibility criteria.