Modernized Family Reunification Parole Processes for Cubans and Haitians
Cuba and Haiti
The Federal Register recently published an update from the Department of Homeland Security, outlining revisions to the procedures governing the Cuban Family Reunification Parole (CFRP) and Haitian Family Reunification Parole (HFRP) programs. The Family Reunification Parole enables family members with approved visa applications to enter the U.S. under parole status. The U.S. extends invitations to specific U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to submit applications for their family members. This applies exclusively to those who possess an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
DHS Announces Modernized Family Reunification Parole Process
On August 10, 2023, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released an announcement in the Federal Register with the aim of modernizing the family reunification parole (FRP) procedures for Cuba and Haiti. The intention is to simplify these processes, enabling applicants to carry out most of the FRP tasks through a secure online platform. This approach eliminates the need for travel, reduces time constraints, minimizes paperwork, and enhances accessibility to participation. It's important to note that participation in this process is still granted through an invitation.
Starting from August 11, 2023, most steps of the updated procedures will be completed online, except for completion of examination by a panel doctor abroad and in-person permit determination on the spot. Eligible beneficiaries must be outside the United States and no longer need to physically reside in Cuba and Haiti. DHS has updated these procedures by taking advantage of the technological advances that have developed since the creation of the CFRP in 2007 and the HFRP in 2014. These advances will improve process efficiency. DHS will continue to verify the identity and admissibility of individuals on a case-by-case basis and conduct a robust, multi-layered security check.
The petitioner will be required to provide evidence of their income and assets and commit to provide financial support to the beneficiary named in the request for the period of parole. Petitioners will also be required to provide evidence to verify the familial relationship between the principal beneficiary of the Form I–130 and all immediate family members of the principal beneficiary for whom the petitioner will be filing a request to be a supporter. As part of the review process, the petitioner must pass security and background vetting, including for public safety, national security, human trafficking, and exploitation concerns.
Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro N. Mayorkas, emphasized the effectiveness of legal avenues coupled with stringent law enforcement in reducing regular immigration and combating human trafficking. He further explained that the modernization of the family reunification permit processes aims to enhance the integrity of vetting and verification standards. Furthermore, these revisions respond to valuable input from individuals and groups within the Cuban and Haitian communities, ensuring meaningful opportunities for potential beneficiaries.
Principal beneficiaries must be Cuban or Haitian nationals who have a petitioner who has been invited to participate. To qualify for consideration within this procedure, a beneficiary must not have been issued an immigrant visa when the petitioner receives the invitation. Moreover, if authorized for travel, the beneficiary must now journey via commercial air, carrying adequate documentation (such as an international passport) to an interior point of entry (POE).
In addition, each beneficiary must undergo and pass national security and public safety vetting and must demonstrate that they otherwise merit a favorable exercise of discretion by DHS. CBP will determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether to exercise discretion to grant parole to the beneficiary at an interior POE upon their arrival.
The processes begin when the National Visa Center (NVC) of the Department of State extends an invitation to the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident family member who has filed a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on behalf of a Cuban or Haitian beneficiary, and that petition has been approved.
After receiving the invitation, the petitioner can initiate the FRP process by submitting Form I-134A, Online Request to be a Supporter and Declaration of Financial Support. This form is filed on behalf of the principal beneficiary and any derivative beneficiary, including spouse and children, who are being considered for advance travel authorization and parole.
USCIS will send a letter to petitioners who have a pending Cuban Family Reunification Parole case under a previously submitted Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, for a principal beneficiary who is waiting for an interview in Havana to explain how their cases will proceed.
For Haitian nationals, the process will be opened to all Haitian approved principal beneficiaries, regardless of when USCIS approved the Form I-130. This represents a significant achievement as eligibility used to be restricted to petitions with approvals issued on or prior to December 18, 2014.
DHS is committed to ensuring that the Cuban and Haitian FRP processes facilitate family reunification while establishing a secure and organized procedure that deters certain Cuban and Haitian citizens, as well as their spouses and adopted children, from embarking on dangerous journeys across the southwest border or maritime routes.
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