In an attempt to stop people from embarking on dangerous migration journeys over land and by sea, relying on smugglers, and coming to cities along the U.S.-Mexico border, the Biden administration has announced the creation of a new parole program (the “CHNV Parole Program”). The program permits sponsors in the United States to apply for Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan, and Venezuelan beneficiaries to fly to the United States and remain in the U.S. for two years. No one may enter under this program except by airplane.
- No one who enters Mexico, Panama, or the United States without authorization after January 9, 2023, will be eligible. This program does not allow for parole through land border ports of entry.
- A U.S.-based sponsor with legal status, and able to financially support the beneficiary for two years, starts the application process; the sponsor can but needn’t be a family member.
- There is no application fee. Applying is free of charge, and anyone telling you otherwise is likely trying to take advantage of you.
- Beneficiaries generally can be in any country outside the United States. If beneficiaries are in a country other than Haiti, they are not eligible for the program if they have obtained permanent residence, citizenship, or refugee status in that other country. Those with temporary status or visas in other countries are eligible. Beneficiaries are ineligible if they have been ordered removed from the U.S. within the prior five years.
- To be eligible for parole, each beneficiary needs a valid passport, must pay for their flight to the United States, and, on arrival, can apply for a work permit and other statuses and services.
- The primary beneficiary must be a Haitian national, but their immediate family members (spouse, common law partner, unmarried children under 21) can be nationals of other countries.
- Unaccompanied children are not eligible for this program. Children under 18 years old must travel to the United States with a parent or legal guardian to use this program.
- If you have a visa application pending, you are eligible for the program and would be able to adjust status after parole, but you should check with an immigration attorney about the impact on your pending case before coming to the United States on parole.
- This program does not require an in-person appointment or interview at an embassy.
- The process should take a few weeks from application to authorization of beneficiary to travel to the United States, although we will have to see if the program will be this efficient in practice.
- Up to 30,000 Cubans, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, and Haitians can come to the United States each month through the program.
Participation in the program begins with a supporter or sponsor in the United States in legal status registering to support a Haitian national abroad.
Who Can Sponsor?
- Sponsors can be those with TPS, parole, deferred action, asylum or refugee status, permanent residency, or U.S. Citizenship, and they can be any relative, friend, pastor, or group of people, like several relatives or friends or colleagues, or a business or a religious or other organization, who can prove that they can financially support the beneficiaries during the two-year parole period. People who have been granted asylum can be sponsors, but people who are asylum seekers with pending cases cannot. People cannot be sponsors if they have not yet been granted initial TPS.
- Sponsors must apply for the program using Form I-134A, Online Request to be a Supporter and Declaration of Financial Support (available here).
- Sponsors must have accurate email addresses for beneficiaries.
- Sponsors must submit a separate Form I-134A for each beneficiary they are seeking to support, including Haitians’ immediate family members and minor children.
- Sponsors generally must show proof of income (through showing tax filings, pay stubs, or bank statements) and be able to house and feed the beneficiary for two years. If a group or organization is supporting the beneficiary, the individual who fills out the form should include a letter of commitment from a representative of the organization or entity describing the monetary or other types of support (such as housing, basic necessities, transportation, etc.) they will be providing to the specific beneficiary. USCIS may request additional evidence to determine if sponsors have sufficient resources.
Next Steps for Beneficiaries
- Once USCIS reviews and approves sponsors’ applications, beneficiaries will get an email informing them how to apply online by creating an online account with myUSCIS. The application will include confirming biographical information and attestation that they meet public health requirements, including certain vaccination requirements. Again, all beneficiaries, including children, need valid unexpired passports.
- Next, beneficiaries will receive instructions through myUSCIS for accessing the CBP One mobile registration application. The beneficiary must then enter biographic information into CBP One and submit a live photo.
- Next, the beneficiary will receive a notice in their myUSCIS account confirming whether CBP has provided the beneficiary with advance authorization to travel to the United States. This travel authorization is generally valid for 90 days, and beneficiaries are responsible for securing their own travel via commercial air to an interior city of the United States.
- Upon arriving at the airport, each individual arriving under this process will be inspected by CBP and considered for a grant of discretionary parole for a period of up to two years. As part of the inspection, beneficiaries will undergo additional screening including fingerprint biometric vetting.
What Happens After Parole into the United States
After beneficiaries are paroled into the United States, they can apply for work authorization from USCIS. To apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), you must submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, using the C(11) category code with the required fee or apply for a fee waiver. To file Form I-765 online, eligible applicants will access their USCIS online account at my.uscis.gov. Applicants who are requesting a waiver of the Form I-765 filing fee or are eligible for a fee exemption must submit Form I-765 by mail.
Importantly, Haitians with parole are also eligible for services that are available to those with Cuban/Haitian entrant status through the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Information about available services is here: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/orr/fact-sheet/benefits-cuban/haitian-entrants
To enroll in services, you should contact an agency affiliated with a resettlement agency in your state: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/orr/map/find-resources-and-contacts-your-state
Those who want to apply for asylum or other immigration status after they are paroled into the United States should contact a reputable attorney or organization about the process.
Anyone who thinks they or their relatives or friends may qualify for the parole program is strongly advised to first consult an attorney or organization experienced in assisting Haitians, such as Catholic Charities Legal Services or Haitian Bridge Alliance, which has created an information sheet here (in English) and here (Haitian Creole).
- More information about the parole program is here: https://www.uscis.gov/CHNV
- Answers to common questions about the program can be found here: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/frequently-asked-questions-about-the-processes-for-cubans-haitians-nicaraguans-and-venezuelans
- More information about sponsorship in Creole is available here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SF44UA8pJIadiHI3vUNxU1sXo37Fwkuc/edit
- If you are interested in being a sponsor, Welcome.US has prepared an interactive Sponsorship Training, an I-134 Guide, and a sign-up form to build networks of people to sponsor. Welcome.US hopes to have a page up soon where anyone can register that they need a sponsor, so persons needing a sponsor are encouraged to periodically check their website.
- For general questions or inquiries about status of a Form I-134A, you can send a secure message from your USCIS account or call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833).
Haitians in the United States in removal proceedings can, one sole time, make themselves eligible for parole under this program if they voluntarily depart the United States or withdraw their application for admission to the United States. Please consult with an attorney about this if this applies to you.
Haitians who are near the U.S.-Mexico border can apply for an appointment to enter through a land border port of entry by using an online application called CBP One beginning on January 12, 2023. You need a web-enabled smart device to download and use the CBP One app, which is free and is currently available in English and Spanish. Appointments to cross will be available at ports of entry in Texas at Brownsville, Eagle Pass, Hidalgo, Laredo and El Paso (Paso del Norte); in Arizona at Nogales; and in California at Calexico West and San Ysidro (Pedestrian West – El Chaparral). It is not possible to pay to secure an appointment, so do not believe anyone who says they can do this for you for a fee. You do not need a valid passport to make an appointment.
For information about CBP One:
- CBP One™ Fact Sheet – English | U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- CBP One™ Fact Sheet – Spanish | U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- CBP One Traveler Quick Reference Guide English | U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- CBPOne Traveler Guia de referencia rapida en espanol | U.S. Customs and Border Protection
If you have further questions, reach out to:
Steve Forester at IJDH, firstname.lastname@example.org, 786-877-6999
Clarel Cyriaque at his law office, email@example.com
Feature Photo: A man walks on a sidewalk next to an empty street during the third day of a general strike and lack of transportation, amid a fuel shortage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on October 27, 2021. Photo by Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images.