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To help solve the current crisis on the country's southern border, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on Friday, January 6, 2023, that it is extending the humanitarian parole program for Venezuelans to citizens of Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua, and to their immediate families so that they can come to the United States in an orderly manner and most importantly, in a safe manner.

The Biden Administration authorized a combined total of up to 30,000 travel authorizations per month for individuals from these four countries to legally enter the United States he/she they will be able to apply for and obtain a work permit and live temporarily in the country.

Before entering the United States, the person who is outside the country (the Beneficiary) must have a Supporter within the United States, and the process must be initiated by that person... by the Supporter. The Supporter must complete Form I-134A (Online Request to be a Supporter and Declaration of Financial Support) and submit the necessary documents to verify that he or she has the necessary financial resources. If USCIS confirms or approves the Supporter's application, the Beneficiary will receive an email from USCIS to create an online account and verify his/her biographical information, verify his/her immunization status, and, if applicable, verify the relationships between family members traveling together. Once the Beneficiary has verified his/her/their information, USCIS will forward the Beneficiary's biographical information to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for review, processing, and travel authorization. CBP will then forward the travel authorization determination to USCIS for posting to the Beneficiary's USCIS account. The Beneficiary will also need to download the CBP One app.

 

Who could be considered a Supporter?

To be considered a Supporter the person must be:

  • Citizen or national of the United States;
  • Lawful permanent resident, legal temporary resident, and conditional permanent resident;
  • A nonimmigrant in lawful status (U or T Nonimmigrant Status, H1B, etc.);
  • Asylee, refugee, and/or a person with a temporary residence permit (parolee);
  • A person who was granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS); and
  • A person granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).

Also, the Supporter must:

  • Have passed the background and security check;
  • Have demonstrated that they have sufficient financial resources to receive and support the Beneficiary.

The Supporter agrees to provide financial and other support to the beneficiary for the duration of the Beneficiary's stay, or up to two years. This includes that the Beneficiary has adequate housing and basic necessities; help the Beneficiary access benefits and services (such as obtaining employment authorization, Social Security card, and education); assist the Beneficiary in obtaining employment; and ensure that the Beneficiary's medical and health care needs are met during his/her/their stay in the United States. The Supporter may support more than one Beneficiary. For example, if a Supporter wishes to sponsor a family of three, the Supporter must complete three separate Forms I-134A (one for each family member).

However, the Supporter must consider the total amount of his/her income and the size of his/her household to verify that he/she has sufficient financial resources to support multiple beneficiaries.

 

If a person considering becoming a Supporter has a pending immigration case (for example, an asylum application or TPS) and the case has not yet been approved, is that person eligible to be a Supporter?

No. If the person has a pending case, such as an asylum application or an initial application for TPS, and does not yet have lawful status in the United States, the person is NOT eligible to be a Supporter.

 

How much money must a Supporter earn in order to financially support a Beneficiary?

USCIS will review the financial information provided by the Supporter on Form I-134A based on the Federal Poverty Guidelines, as described by the Department of Health and Human Services, considering the size of the Supporter's household, to determine the ability to support the Beneficiary during this period.

 

How long is the Supporter financially responsible for the Beneficiary?

The Supporter is financially responsible or liable for the Beneficiary for the duration of stay or two (2) years. But in the case where the Beneficiary becomes a Legal Permanent Resident of the United States (whether through applying for the Cuban Adjustment Act after (1) year or through marriage); when the Beneficiary receives the Green Card, the Supporter’s financial commitment to the Beneficiary ends.

 

Who may be considered for Advance Travel Authorization?

To be considered for Advance Travel Authorization to come to the United States under this process, the person or Beneficiary must:

  • Be outside of the United States;
  • Be a citizen of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, or Venezuela, or be an immediate family member of the Beneficiary (spouse, common-law partner, or unmarried child under 21 years of age) and travel with the eligible beneficiary;
  • Have a sponsor or support person in the United States who has filed Form I-134A (Online Request to be a Supporter and Declaration of Financial Support) on behalf of the beneficiary confirmed by USCIS;
  • Have a valid and current passport;
  • Have the ability to purchase your own airline ticket in order to travel to the United States;
  • Submit and successfully pass background and security checks;
  • Comply with all immunization requirements (including COVID-19 vaccines) and other public health requirements; and
  • Demonstrate that he/she merits a favorable exercise of discretion.

 

What is the USCIS filing fee to obtain an Advance Travel Authorization?

There is no USCIS filing fee for Form I-134A, or for the issuance of an Advance Travel Authorization. However, to request an Employment Authorization Document, the Beneficiary must submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with the required USCIS filing fee or request a fee waiver.

 

Who does NOT qualify for an Advance Travel Authorization?

The following beneficiaries do not qualify for an Advance Travel Authorization:

  • If the person received a deportation order in the last (5) five years.
  • If the person entered the United States WITHOUT authorization after January 5, 2023.
  • If the person crossed the borders of Mexico and/or Panama WITHOUT authorization after January 5, 2023.
  • If the person has permanent residence or dual nationality from any other country.
  • If the person has refugee status in any other country.

NOTE: Venezuelans, Cubans, Haitians, and Nicaraguans should NOT travel through Panama and Mexico to attempt to cross the border into the United States. If they cross Mexico and/or Panama border illegally after January 5, 2023, the person will NOT be eligible for this new process.

If the person entered the United States before October 19, 2022, and has a pending asylum application, the person must continue with their asylum application.

 

Is the Advance Travel Authorization a visa?

No. The Advance Travel Authorization is not a visa. The authorization only allows the Beneficiary to travel by airplane and arrive at an airport in the United States. The authorization does not guarantee that the Beneficiary will be granted parole. When the Beneficiary arrives in the United States, he/she must pass CBP inspections, including fingerprinting and additional checks. If the Officer believes that the Beneficiary is a threat to the United States or does not qualify for other reasons, entry into the country may be denied and the Beneficiary may be referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

IMPORTANT: Advance Travel Authorization will not be accepted at the US-Mexico border; that is, the Beneficiary cannot arrive with an Advance Travel Authorization and request parole at a land port of entry or at the border. The Beneficiary will be rejected.

 

The Beneficiary arrived at an airport in the United States and was approved for humanitarian parole or temporary stay. What's next?

If the humanitarian parole or temporary stay is approved and the Beneficiary is allowed to enter the United States, he must do the following:

  • Report your physical address after 30 days.
  • Get a medical review within 90 days.
  • Apply for a work permit using Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and apply for a social security card.

 

When can the Beneficiary apply to obtain a work permit?

After entering the United States, the Beneficiary is eligible to apply for a work permit. To request an Employment Authorization Document, the Beneficiary must submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with the required fee or request a fee waiver.

 

Does the Supporter have to be a relative of the beneficiary to start the process and support the Beneficiary?

No. Anyone who meets the requirements to be a supporter and is confirmed by USCIS may support an eligible beneficiary or their immediate family members, regardless of whether the Supporter is related to the beneficiary.

 

Can the Beneficiary include or come with any family member?

The Beneficiary can come with his/her spouse/domestic partner and/or his/her unmarried children, under 21 years of age.

NOTE: These family members do not need to be Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, or Venezuelans, and may have refugee status in any other country. Children under 18 years of age must travel with their parents to benefit from this process. These minors cannot enter the United States by themselves.

 

If confirmed or approved, what is the validity of the Advance Travel Authorization?

If the Advance Travel Authorization is confirmed or approved by USCIS, it is valid for a period of 90 days. The Beneficiary must be ready to buy his/her airplane ticket and travel to the United States.

NOTE: If for reasons beyond the control of the Beneficiary, he/she is unable to travel within the 90-day travel authorization validity period, the Supporter may submit a one-time application for an authorization extension with USCIS.

 

What if a Beneficiary does not have access to one of the US Food and Drug Administration approved COVID-19 vaccines?

Before traveling to the United States, the Beneficiary must certify that he/she has completed the vaccination requirements or is eligible for an exception to the requirements for vaccination against measles, polio, and the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine approved or authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or one of the vaccines listed for emergency use (EUL) by the World Health Organization (WHO).

 

Is the Beneficiary required to pay the Supporter in some way for agreeing to support the beneficiary under this new process?

Beneficiaries are NOT required to pay, reimburse, work for, serve, marry, or otherwise compensate their supporter in exchange for their support and filing Form I-134A on behalf of the Beneficiary or for providing financial support while the Beneficiary is in residing in the United States.

 

Can a citizen of Cuba apply for permanent residence under the Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA) if her/she entered the United States with this process?

Cubans who enter the United States under this new process [do so] legally and may apply for permanent residence after one (1) year under the Cuban Adjustment Act.

Our Preparation Service for the Processes for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans includes:

  • A detailed document checklist;
  • Preparation of Form I-134A, Online Request to be a Supporter, and Declaration of Financial Support;
  • Preparation of Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, online (when the Beneficiary has entered the United States);
  • Preparation of Form I-912, Fee Waiver Request (if applicable and when the Beneficiary has entered the United States);
  • Submission of Form AR-11, Alien Change of Address Card, online (if applicable);
  • Translation of civil documents from Spanish to English (additional cost); and
  • Case Management and Immigration Paralegal Support while the process is pending.

 

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