What is Parole-In-Place?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Parole-in-place is a status the United States government may choose to grant someone who is on US soil illegally, allowing that person to stay while filing an application for legal residency or citizenship. Without this permission, the undocumented person would need to leave the United States and attempt to apply for legal residency while in her home nation. Parole-in-place is typically available to certain classes of undocumented people in the United States. People confronting deportation can check to see if they qualify.

Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

One example involves military spouses and children. Members of the military may marry foreign nationals while they serve overseas, and expect to be able to bring them back into the United States. While some seek legal permission to do so, making sure their spouses have legal residency and are on the path to citizenship, others do not, or face barriers making it difficult to complete the process. Parole-in-place allows an undocumented military spouse and any undocumented children to remain in the United States while they apply for legal residency, instead of breaking up families with deportation.

The government may also grant parole-in-place under certain other circumstances in US territories, covering people like foreign nationals serving the government in these regions without the right permits. Rather than deporting people and having to seek a new workforce, the government can offer them parole-in-place if they want to stay and apply for the proper residency permits. When this option is available, government officials usually make an announcement to apprise the population of the situation and provide information about eligibility.

To receive parole-in-place, people will need to fill out an application and provide documentation to explain why they qualify. This may include a variety of paperwork, including materials from their home nations. People should be aware that if they leave the United States during this process without receiving a special waiver from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, they may not be able to return to the United States. Government officials will review the application for parole-in-place and determine if the person qualifies.

In cases where people do not qualify, they are subject to deportation. They will need to pursue applications for legal residency through US embassies in their own nations. A history of deportation can make applications more difficult. Leaving the country voluntarily before deportation proceedings begin can be advantageous, especially if someone was unaware of his undocumented status; voluntarily leaving once the legal problem presents itself demonstrates a willingness to comply with regulations.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


I am the widow of a U.S. citizen an national guard army veteran. i have an approved i-130, and i wanted to know how can i apply for parole in place or if i am even eligible to adjust without leaving the states? my family sent me here on someone else's visa whom i can't locate or even know the name of because i was seven years old at the time. what can i do?

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