Afghan Humanitarian Parole
February 24th, 2022
In a recent update on the Afghanistan humanitarian crisis, six USCIS officers are currently processing 14,000 humanitarian requests for Afghanistan refugees seeking relocation. In August, the Afghan government was taken over by the Taliban, causing a surge in refugees seeking resettlement. On October 22, 2021, USCIS received nearly 20,000 requests for humanitarian parole, more than 10 times the global number of humanitarian applications submitted in a typical year.
Humanitarian parole may be granted to certain noncitizens entering the US under emergency circumstances, who are permitted to enter as “parolees” and can apply for legal status once in the US. Most recent humanitarian parole requests have been filed by Afghan Americans on behalf of relatives in Afghanistan. For many at-risk Afghan civilians, humanitarian parole is the only option to seek safety in the US. USCIS is requesting volunteers throughout the agency to aid in processing the humanitarian requests due to the overwhelming number of applications. Additionally, the USCIS system cannot process requests at such a high volume, especially when cases can reach numbers as high as 150,000 requests in a year. It is unclear how long the humanitarian parole application will take to process due to the backlog and approvals being designated on a case-by-case basis.
The US embassy in Kabul shut down and relocated to Doha Qatar where Afghan nationals can still apply for humanitarian parole and receive pre-approval to travel to a third country for vetting at a US consulate. DOS can then issue a boarding letter for the applicant to take to a commercial airline bound for the US. To apply for humanitarian parole, file a Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, along with a Form I-134, Affidavit of Support. The parole application costs $575 per person, however a waiver is being deliberated in Congress.
For more information on the application process, please visit the USCIS website.