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Military Parole-in-Place is a type of deferred action for family members of military members.

What is Parole-In-Place?

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) states that they recognize the important sacrifices made by U.S. armed forces members, veterans, enlistees, and their families. Therefore, USCIS states that on a case-by-case basis they may offer this type of relief called military parole in place (PIP) to family members including parents, spouses, or children of U.S. military members, veterans, and enlistees.

What does Deferred Action Mean?

According to USCIS, Deferred action is a discretionary decision to postpone someone’s removal from the United States for a certain period of time.  Deferred action does not provide lawful status, and it does not excuse any periods of unlawful presence outside of the deferred action period.

If USCIS grants an individual deferred action, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) considers you to be lawfully present in the U.S. for the period deferred action is in effect, and apply for a work permit for the specified period.   

Additional Benefits of PIP

Significantly, after receiving military parole-in-place, you may even become eligible to adjust your status to a lawful permanent resident because a grant of military parole-in-place provides an admission to adjust status in the U.S. instead of having to return to your home country to receive the immigrant visa.  However, a grant of military parole-in-place does not fix or waive any other immigration problems such as a deportation or removal order or whether you have been arrested.

While USCIS claims that deferred action may be granted in two-year increments, the Phoenix Field Office generally grants them in one-year increments based on my experience.

Eligibility Requirements for Military Parole In Place

To be eligible for military parole-in-place, you must be able to demonstrate that you are the spouse, widow(er), parent, son or daughter of an:

  • Active-duty member of the U.S. armed forces; 
  • Individual in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve; or 
  • Individual who (whether still living or deceased) previously served on active duty or in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve and was not dishonorably discharged. 

Who qualifies as a Spouse, Parent, Son or Daughter?

  1. Spouses are people who are legally married and have a “bona fide” marital relationship. According to USCIS, the legal validity of a marriage is determined by the law of the place where the marriage was celebrated (“place-of-celebration rule”). Under this rule, a marriage is valid for immigration purposes in cases where the marriage is valid under the law of the jurisdiction in which it is performed.  Since June 2013, USCIS recognizes marriages between persons of the same sex as long as where they were married is legally valid.
  2. Widows and Widowers of a U.S. Military member or veteran may also be granted military parole-in-place if they are able to prove that they were residing in the United States at the time of the service member’s death.
  3. Sons or Daughters: Children, no matter their age – younger or older than 21 years, married or unmarried.  As defined under INA Section 101(b)(1), children include those born in wedlock, born out of wedlock, stepchildren, and adopted children.
  4. Parent: In regular family-based petitions, a child must be at least 21 years old and a U.S. Citizen to petition on behalf of his or her parent.  However, for a parent to receive military PIP there is no minimum age requirement for the child.

    Additionally, the child may be a Lawful Permanent Resident.  For example, the parents of an eighteen-year-old lawful permanent resident serving in the U.S. military may qualify for military parole-in-place.

Who qualifies as a Member of the U.S. Military?

1. Active Duty

Active Duty Member of U.S. Armed Forces: The U.S. Armed Forces refers to the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. 

Active duty includes:

  • Full-time duty in active military service
  • Full-time training duty
  • Annual training duty
  • Attendance, while in active military service
  • At a service school (designated by law)
  • Active duty in non-combatant capacity.

Though the National Guard is included in the definition of the armed forces, according to the VA.gov website, active duty does not appear to include full-time National Guard duty since the National Guard’s personnel is described as “Active Status” and military parole-in-place specifically calls for “Active Duty.” 

2. Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve

Member of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve: Each armed force group has a reserve component (such as Ready Reserve, Standby Reserve, and Retired Reserve).

Within the Ready Reserve of each of the reserve components, there is a Selected Reserve. 

The Selected Reserve consists of those units and Individual Reserves that are recommended by their military department and approved by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Members who are selected have been recommended for service and are considered active duty.

Therefore, only the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve are considered active-duty members.  

Additionally, individuals currently enrolled in Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (“MAVNI”) program, who are not currently on active duty but are enrolled in Delayed Entry Program (“DEP”), cannot utilize PIP until they are in active duty but are eligible for deferred action. 

3. Not Dishonorably Discharged

Dishonorably discharge: Military parole-in-place requires that military personnel NOT be dishonorably discharged

A dishonorable discharge is a punitive discharge; it is generally handed down to an enlisted member by a general court-martial. This type of discharge is given by a conviction at a general court-martial for serious offenses (i.e. desertion, sexual assault, etc.)

How to Apply for PIP

To request parole in place, you must submit the following to the local USCIS office with jurisdiction over your place of residence (military families on assignment in an area different from their permanent place of residence may submit their request to the office with jurisdiction over either location):

  • Completed Form I-131, Application for Travel Document 
  • Evidence of the family relationship, such as: 
    • Marriage certificate 
    • Documentation of termination of a previous marriage 
    • Son or daughter’s birth certificate 
    • Military member’s birth certificate with parent’s name 
    • Proof of enrollment in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS); 
  • Evidence that your family member is a current or former member of the U.S. armed forces, such as a photocopy of the front and back of the service member’s military identification card or DD Form 214; 
  • Two identical, color passport-style photographs; and 
  • Evidence of any additional favorable discretionary factors that you would like USCIS to consider. 

Other Details and Reminders

  • There is no USCIS fee.
  • If the military member is still in the military, be sure to send a copy of an unexpired military ID.
  • If you entered the U.S. lawfully but overstayed your visa such as a student visa, tourist visa, or border crossing card – or are otherwise in the U.S. past your period of authorized stay – you are not eligible for parole in place because you are not an applicant for admission. 
  • Military parole-in-place can only be used for spouses, parents, or unmarried minor children under 21 years of age.  Siblings, grandparents, and other relatives are not eligible to apply.
  • Military parole-in-place is not a guarantee.  According to USCIS, they review each applicant’s situation on a case-by-case basis.

PIP Conclusion

At this time the Military PIP program is active and usable despite questions about President Trump’s talk of curtailing immigration parole programs. 

If you think you may qualify for the PIP program please contact our office so we can help you through the process.