The Biden Administration Brings Back the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program
The Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HFRP) was initially established on December 18, 2014, to help families reunite through safe, legal, and orderly channels of migration to the United States. Although the HFRP had announced that the program would terminate in August of 2019. However, in October of 2021, the Biden administration announced that they are bringing the program back. The program increases existing legal migration from Haiti, helping Haitians recover from the January 12, 2010, earthquake. While progress has been made since the 2010 earthquake, Haiti continues to face significant developmental challenges. According to the current administration, rebuilding and developing a safe and economically strong Haiti is a priority for the United States.
Under the HFRP Program, USCIS will exercise its parole authority to permit eligible Haitians to join their family members in the United States up to approximately two years before their immigrant visas are available. HFRP Program beneficiaries will be eligible to apply for employment authorization and those who are able to work may contribute to Haiti’s post-earthquake reconstruction.
Eligible participants include: Haitian residents; beneficiaries (spouse and children) of Forms I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, that were approved on or before the date of publication of this notice; whose immigrant visas are not available but are expected to become available within 18 to 30 months; and whose petitioning relatives in the United States have received a written invitation to apply for the program on their behalf from the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC).
The NVC will issue a written invitation to petitioners of approved Forms I-130 based upon the date when the immigrant visas for their beneficiary relatives are expected to become available. Each year the NVC will identify approved forms whose filing dates are expected to become current in approximately the next 18 to 30 months, meaning that the immigrant visas for those cases are expected to become available within that timeframe. The NVC will prioritize the issuance of invitations to petitioners within that group beginning with the oldest to the most recent filing date. Only U.S. petitioners who receive invitations from the NVC will be eligible to apply for the HFRP Program, and the invitations will be issued at least once per year.
To apply to the HFRP Program on behalf of Haitian family members, petitioners who have received an invitation letter from the NVC must file a parole application (Form I-131, Application for Travel Document), along with the required fee ($575, but may request a fee waiver by filing the form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver), and a Form I-134 Affidavit of Support, for each relative they wish to have considered for parole. Petitioners must file for all eligible relatives associated with the same underlying form I-130 at the same time. If a petitioner does not apply for the Principal Beneficiary of the Form I-130, USCIS will not consider the associated Derivative Beneficiaries under the HFRP Program.
If travel is approved, USCIS will issue the necessary travel documents to the beneficiary, who must pay for his or her travel into the United States. Upon entry into the U.S, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer will inspect the beneficiary, by reviewing documents and if all information checks out the beneficiary will be paroled into the U.S. Once paroled into the United States, the beneficiary will be issued an electronic Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record. Beneficiaries approved under the program will be paroled into the United States for an initial period of three years, giving them plenty of time to apply for LPR status once their immigrant visas become available, which is expected to be within two years of being paroled into the United States.
Since participation in the HFRP program is by invitation only, the program is currently assessing when new invitations might be issued. The USCIS field office in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, permanently closed in December 2019. Due to Covid-19, The Department of State continues to provide only limited services at the U.S Embassy in Haiti. The USCIS website will update their webpage when the next round of issued HFRP invitation notices so anyone wanting to participate will need to check it often. Once Trump was elected in 2017, the parole program was terminated under his administration causing many beneficiaries whose petitioners had applied for the program on receiving NVC invitations during the Obama administration to restrict their completion.
After holding a campaign in Miami on October 5, 2020, President Biden promised to protect and reinstate the HFRP. Brining back this program will be operating at full capacity so families can be reunited in the shortest amount of time possible.