Family reunification parole processes and programs

The family reunification parole processes allows family members with approved visa applications to come to the U.S. with parole status. The U.S. invites certain U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to apply for their family members. Learn about the process.

Updated November 20, 2023

This program is only for people who already have an approved Form I-130 and are still waiting for their immigrant visa. It is for people from Columbia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, and Honduras. It was recently expanded to help reduce the visa backlog for these countries.

Form I-130 is an application to get permission for family members to immigrate to the USA. Learn more.


Under this program, family members are paroled into the United States on a case-by-case basis. Parole allows your family to be in the U.S. legally and apply to work in the United States. It is not a permanent legal status. The initial period of parole is for 3 years.

Parolees are expected to apply for a Green Card once their immigrant visa becomes available. Your family member should get their visa within about 2 years after they are paroled. 

If your family member is paroled instead of waiting for a visa, it will cost them more. They will have to pay for work authorization and a Green Card. This is something to consider when deciding if you should apply for parole or continue waiting for a visa. 


There are currently several family reunification parole programs:

You must be invited to apply. The U.S. government selects certain people and mails them an invitation to apply for one of these programs. It is for people whose visa is expected to be available within 18-30 months. 

To be eligible to apply for parole for a family member you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or LPR
  • Have an approved Form I-130 
  • Have family members in Columbia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, and Honduras

How to apply

You can not apply unless the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) invites you to do so. 

If you believe you may be eligible, make sure the NVC has your current mailing address. If you have questions, you can contact the NVC by submitting a Public Inquiry Form online.

For those who receive an invitation, you will need to follow the instructions in the NVC letter:

Complete a separate Form I-131 for each family member and include:

  • “HFRP” written at the top of the form
  • 2 passport-style photos of your family member
  • Photocopy of your Form I-797, your Form I-130 approval notice, or a printout from Case Status Online showing approval
  • Required fee or a fee waiver request
  • Separate Form I-134 with supporting documents for each family member
  • Copy of the NVC invitation letter

Mail everything together to the address provided before the deadline. It is important to submit all applications together to help USCIS determine eligibility. If not, your application may be denied. 

USCIS will review your application. They may request additional information.

If there are no issues with the application, your family member will be invited to an interview and asked to complete a medical examination. They will also have to provide biometrics such as fingerprints and photos.

If your Form I-131 is denied, the decision is final. Your family member may still be eligible for an immigrant visa based on approval of their Form I-130. 


The interview details will depend on which program you applied to. USCIS staff will ask your family members questions to determine whether to grant parole.

Your family members should bring all required documents to the interview, including: 

  • Government-issued form of identification
  • Unexpired passport
  • Documents supporting their eligibility for the program (if not in English they must be certified translated into English) 
  • Medical examination results 
  • Copy of interview notice

Traveling to the USA 

If USCIS grants parole, your family member will be issued the necessary travel documents. It may take about 6 months to get your travel documents after you submit your application. 

It is important that your family member does not make any big changes until they have received their travel documents. This includes things like selling their home or quitting their job.

The travel documents will allow your family members to travel to the USA. You or your family member must pay for their own travel. Once they arrive, a CBP officer at a port of entry will review the documents. If everything is in order, they will issue a Form I-94 to document their parole. 

Once in the USA, your family member can apply to work

Get a Green Card 

Once your family member’s immigrant visa becomes available, it is expected that they apply for a Green Card. A Green Card will allow them to live in the United States permanently. They can also apply for citizenship after 5 years of having their Green Card. If they do not get a Green Card, they will need to request re-parole. 

Legal help

It is important to get legal advice if you can. A lawyer or an accredited representative can help you understand your options for family reunification and properly submit your application. Many organizations and lawyers offer free or low-cost legal services.

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Understanding words

Lawful permanent resident (LPR)Someone with a valid Green Card
Petitionan application or formal request made to an authority
PetitionerA person who files an application applying for their family member to come to the USA
BeneficiaryThe family member who a petitioner is applying to come to the USA

The information on this page comes from USCIS and other trusted sources. We aim to offer easy to understand information that is updated regularly. This information is not legal advice.