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New Process to Promote the Unity and Stability of Families

On June 18, 2024, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced actions to promote family unity in the immigration process. DHS will establish a new process to consider, on a case-by-case basis, requests for certain noncitizen spouse of U.S. citizens to apply for lawful permanent residence without having to leave the United States. In addition, certain noncitizen children of such spouses may also be considered for the new process on a case-by-case basis.

Under this new process, USCIS may grant a qualifying individual parole on a case-by-case basis for up to three years. This period provides an opportunity for eligible spouses and children of U.S. citizens granted parole to file an application for lawful permanent residence in the United States (adjustment of status). DHS estimates that 500,000 noncitizen spouses of U.S. citizens could be eligible to access this process.

Who is Eligible for this New Process?

To be considered, on a case-by-case basis, for a discretionary grant of parole under the new process, an individual must:

  • Be present in the United States after entering without permission;
  • Have been continuously present in the United States for at least 10 years as of June 17, 2024;
  • Have a legally valid marriage to a U.S. citizen as of June 17, 2024; and
  • Have no disqualifying criminal history or otherwise does not constitute a threat to national security or public safety.

Additionally, noncitizen children of such spouses may also be considered for a discretionary grant of parole in place along with their noncitizen parent on a case-by-case basis if they are physically present in the United States without permission and have a qualifying stepchild relationship with a U.S. citizen as of June 17, 2024.1

When and How Can I be Considered for Parole under this New Process?

To be considered for parole, an individual will need to file a form with USCIS along with supporting documentation to show they meet the requirements and pay a fee. However, this process has not begun yet, and candidates for this process must wait for further information regarding eligibility and the application process, which will be published in the near term. USCIS will reject any filings or individual requests in relation to this process received before the date when the application process begins later this summer.

Other Action – Easing the Nonimmigrant Visa Process for U.S. College Graduates

Additionally, DHS will also join the Department of State’s effort to more efficiently facilitate certain employment-based nonimmigrant visas for eligible individuals who have graduated from an accredited U.S. institution of higher education. Those individuals include Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and undocumented noncitizens. This initiative will allow certain individuals to more quickly receive nonimmigrant work visas if they are deemed eligible.

As part of this initiative, the Department of State will clarify existing guidance to consular officers related to when they should consider recommending that DHS grant a waiver of ineligibility, where applicable. These updates will also encourage consular officers to consider recommending expedited review of waiver requests in conjunction with certain nonimmigrant visa applications overseas, consistent with existing Department regulations and guidance. Updated guidance for consular officers will be issued by July 18, 2024.

USCIS’ announcement on the new process can be accessed here. Department of State’s announcement on easing the nonimmigrant visa process can be accessed here.

Disclaimer

  1. To qualify as a stepchild under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the noncitizen child must be unmarried, under the age of 21, and the marriage of their noncitizen parent and U.S. citizen stepparent must have taken place prior to the child’s 18th birthday. ↩︎

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