Effective January 6, US Citizenship and Immigration Services has extended and implemented a new parole program previously only available for Ukrainians and Venezuelans to include nationals of Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua. As with the Venezuelan parole program, it is intended to deter foreign nationals from these countries from attempting to enter the US unlawfully.

Applications for benefits under the program require the submission of an affidavit of support by a qualified US supporter, followed by a parole request that will ultimately be adjudicated by US Customs and Border Protection. The approval will allow qualified beneficiaries who are outside the US to travel here and provide a temporary period of parole for up to two years. The USCIS website is now active for persons of the added countries to have affidavits of support submitted on their behalf.

Nationals of all four countries and their immediate family members will be permitted to come to the US and seek employment authorization. Eligible foreign nationals must have a supporter in the US who is willing to provide them with financial support for the duration of their parole period. Upon approval of that request, they will be permitted to seek a parole and ultimately be processed at a port of entry to remain in the US temporarily. The program requires compliance with vaccination requirements and includes a background and security check of all applicants.

Supporters can be individuals, organizations, businesses, or other entities. The supporters will be vetted to ensure the foreigners are not being exploited and that the supporters are financially able to support the beneficiaries. Individual supporters must hold lawful immigration status in the US but are not required to be US citizens or lawful permanent residents. Nor are they required to be related to the individuals being sponsored.

There is no filing fee for participation in the program, and unaccompanied minors will not be permitted to enter the United States. Beneficiaries of the program who are under the age of 18 must be accompanied by at least one parent or guardian when seeking to enter the US. The expanded program will allow up to 30,000 qualified applicants to be paroled each month. It is not clear at this time how those numbers will be divided, if at all, among the four nationalities.

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