What Does It Mean To ‘Parole in Place’ in the U.S.?

Updated on June 19, 2023
At a Glance: Parole in place is a discretionary benefit that allows certain individuals, such as family members of U.S. military personnel, who entered the U.S. unlawfully or without inspection, to obtain a green card. It protects them from deportation, allows them to live and work legally, and enables them to adjust their status. To apply, eligible individuals must submit Form I-131 and supporting documents. Parole in place exempts them from the penalty for unlawful entry and enhances family unity within the military. However, it does not guarantee entry if other grounds of inadmissibility are present.

The United States government recognizes the importance of military members and their sacrifices in serving the nation. The government lends support and offers many discretionary options exclusively for military members, enlistees, and their family members. One of them is “parole in place” (PIP). If you want to learn more about it, this article is for you. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about parole in place.

What Is Parole in Place?

Parole in place is a discretionary public benefit that allows certain aliens to get a green card even when they’ve entered into the United States territory unlawfully or without inspection. Generally, anyone entering the country in such a manner will be detained and deported at the earliest.

But under Section 212(d)(5)(A) of the INA, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services can grant a green card to specific individuals under parole in place. These individuals are related to U.S. Army Personnel, both active and veteran.

Once granted a green card, beneficiaries can live and work in the United States legally and can later change their status. If they already have a green card, they can apply for a change of status.

What Issues Does Parole in Place Address?

Parole in place serves a very specific purpose that benefits the United States as a whole. People serving in the military often have to overcome many hardships, both physically and mentally. Not only the individuals but their family members too.

But if their family members are detained and deported because of their unlawful presence, it can negatively impact the mental state of the army personnel.

If an alien happens to be a relative of an active or retired military personnel, and he/she has entered the U.S. borders unlawfully, then through PIP, they will be granted the right to temporarily live in the U.S. and later change their status.

This ensures there’s no disruption to military family unity, which in turn will enhance military readiness.

The family member can waive the three- to 10-year penalty bar to enter the U.S. and will not be deported. Even better, they’ll be allowed to reunite with their family members and stay and work in the U.S.

Parole in place is detailed in the 2013 USCIS memo; a revised version can be found in the November 2016 memo.

Parole in Place Eligibility

PIP is open to only a select group of people who need to demonstrate their eligibility. To be considered for the PIP one-year increment discretionary benefit, you must be a spouse/widow(er)/parent/son/daughter of any of the following:

  • An active on-duty U.S. Armed Forces member
  • An individual serving in the Selected Reserve or the Ready Reserve
  • An individual who has previously served in an active-duty role in the U.S. Armed Forces, Selected Reserve, or the Ready Reserve and wasn’t discharged dishonorably.

In the last case, applicants will be eligible even if the individual is deceased.

But those aliens who entered the U.S. borders lawfully and have overstayed their visas will not be considered for the PIP benefit. This is because they are no longer an applicant for admission to the U.S. They may still be eligible for “deferred action,” though.

After the Trump administration set restrictions on PIP, denial rates increased. Congress has since ordered PIP applications to be processed on a case-by-case basis where individual circumstances might also be taken into account when determining eligibility.

How To Apply for Parole in Place

Applying for parole in place can be a complicated process. But once you understand the framework, it becomes simple. Proper knowledge of the application form and how to proceed is essential. In this section, we will explore how you can apply for the parole in place benefit.

The first task is to determine your eligibility for PIP. Not everyone related to a U.S. Armed Forces or Selected Reserve member will be eligible for PIP. Only spouses, widow(er)s, parents, sons, and daughters are eligible.

If eligible, you must obtain parole in place to adjust your status. If you apply directly for status adjustment without PIP, then it’ll be rejected without any consideration.

To receive parole in place, you must:

Prepare Form I-131

Form I-131, officially known as the Application for Travel Document, must be submitted to apply for an advance parole travel document to parole into the United States. With this document, you can legally enter the United States and carry on with the rest of the procedure to you adjust your status. This form is also submitted for applying for a reentry permit and refugee travel document. It is a 5-page document with the following sections:

  • Part 1: Information About You
  • Part 2: Application Type (it is important to choose the correct type)
  • Part 3: Processing Information
  • Part 4: Information About Your Proposed Travel
  • Part 5: Complete Only if Applying for a Reentry Permit

Submit G-1145

By submitting G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance, you express the desire to receive an e-notification of your application. The USCIS will send updates to your registered email address. This form is not compulsory, and you can skip it if needed.

Submit Supporting Documents

Finally, you’ll have to submit relevant documents to support the information provided in Form I-131. Those documents are:

  • A copy of your birth certificate or marriage certificate to establish the family relationship between you and the U.S. Army Personnel
  • Copies of evidence validating that the U.S.-based family member is an active on-duty member, part of the Selected Reserve, or the Ready Reserve
  • Two identical, passport-size photos
  • Evidence of any additional discretionary factors that support your application for PIP

After you’ve completed the application, you need to send it to the correct filing address, which you can access here.

Benefits of Parole in Place

Parole in place offers several advantages:

Protection From Deportation and Employment

The main benefit of parole in place for beneficiaries is they get protection from deportation and hence cannot be deported. They can stay in the United States and apply for work. Thus, the PIP benefit also protects their employment in the United States.

Exemption From Penalty

The second benefit is the aliens will be exempt from the three- to 10-year penalty bar imposed on anyone found entering the U.S. unlawfully.

Adjustment of Status

The final benefit is they’ll be able to adjust their status and receive a green card. You can skip the requirement of entering the United States lawfully, which is the first requirement of applying for a green card.

Since an immigrant visa is available to spouses, unmarried children, and parents, they will be eligible to adjust their status almost immediately.

No Guarantees With Parole in Place

The final thing all applicants looking forward to parole in place should know is that PIP only waives the unlawful entry inadmissibility ground. Other grounds under which an alien can be denied entry remains in effect. Therefore, if you become inadmissible for other reasons, then the PIP benefit won’t help.

Read More


Due to the ever-changing nature of parole in place, you must be up to date with the latest news and information. If you have further questions, you should get in touch with an attorney for guidance.

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 100,000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn more about finance, immigration, and more!
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.