New Executive Action to Provide Protections for Certain Noncitizen Spouses

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that the agency will establish a new process to consider, on a case-by-case basis, requests from eligible noncitizen spouses of U.S. citizens for parole-in-place status.  Parole-in-place allows noncitizens who entered the United States without the authorization of an immigration officer to remain in the United States for a certain period.  If paroled, eligible noncitizen spouses will be able to apply for permanent residence without having to leave the United States to be processed for an Immigrant Visa at a U.S. consulate.  Individuals who are granted this parole status will also be eligible to apply for an employment authorization document (EAD) from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

A noncitizen must meet certain criteria in order to be eligible for parole-in-place:

  • Have been continuously present in the United States without admission or parole for 10 years or more as of June 17, 2024;
  • Have a legally valid marriage to a U.S. citizen as of June 17, 2024;
  • Have no qualifying criminal convictions;
  • Must not pose a threat to national security and public safety and pass vetting;
  • Must be otherwise eligible to apply for adjustment of status; and
  • Must merit a favorable exercise of discretion.

If a noncitizen spouse meets these criteria, the government may grant parole-in-place for a period of up to three years.  USCIS indicates that during this period, eligible noncitizen spouses of U.S. citizens granted this parole status can file a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (along with Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, if needed).  By applying for permanent resident status from within the United States, these noncitizen spouses can avoid bars to their U.S. reentry, which could be triggered if they leave the country.

Noncitizen children of spouses who are granted this parole-in-place may also be considered for parole status under this process if they:  are physically present in the United States without admission or parole and have a qualifying stepchild relationship with a U.S. citizen parent as defined by U.S. immigration law (Immigration and Nationality Act) as of June 17, 2024.

USCIS notes that any filings or requests with respect to this process that are submitted before the application process starts later this summer will be rejected.

Additional information regarding eligibility requirements, application process, form and associated filing fees, and the EAD application process are to be included in a Federal Register Notice, which will be published shortly. 

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.