Parolee FAQs

Parolee Eligibility: Are parolees eligible for refugee services? Does it matter which kind of parole an applicant has?

Under current laws only Cuban and Haitian parolees are eligible for refugee services; there is no restriction on the type of parole. Parolees of other nationalities are ineligible for all services, regardless of the type of parole or the nationality. The one exception are those few persons of any nationality who had been paroled into the United States with the specific notation "Paroled as a Refugee" or "Paroled as an Asylee" on their I-94 or other documentation. A person paroled specifically as a refugee or asylee would be eligible for refugee program benefits.

"Paroled as a Refugee": Because Cubans and Haitians granted parole receive refugee program benefits, aren’t they “paroled as a refugee”?

No, the I-94 must specify “paroled as a refugee.” Cubans and Haitians receive humanitarian or public benefit parole, and the code used on their Employment Authorization Documents is “C11,” not “A04.”

Cuban/Haitian Date of Eligibility - Parolees: What eligibility date is used for a Cuban or Haitian national who is granted parole?

If a Cuban or Haitian national is granted parole upon entry to the United States, the eligibility date for refugee program services would be the actual date when individual entered the United States for the first time and was granted parole status. If the Cuban or Haitian national receives parole for the first time after entering the United States, the date of eligibility is the date the parole is approved rather than the actual date of arrival. The eligibility date remains the same if the individual is granted subsequent parole status after a departure from the United States or renewal of parole status.

Derivative Eligibility of Cuban-Haitian Parolees: Are the non-Cuban or non-Haitian family members of Cuban or Haitian parolees considered Cuban-Haitian entrants?

No, a non-Cuban or non-Haitian spouse or child does not derive eligibility as a Cuban-Haitian entrant. The definition in the Refugee Education Assistance Act granted eligibility for refugee program services only to certain categories of individuals with Cuban or Haitian nationality. DHS determines the nationality or citizenship by the documentation presented at time of entry. Any claim to Cuban or Haitian nationality must be resolved and documented by DHS in order to establish eligibility as a Cuban-Haitian entrant. See ORR State Letter #07-14 (Exhibit 3-2).

Cuban Family Reunification Parole: Are Cuban parolees admitted under the Family Reunification Program eligible for refugee services?

Yes, Cuban nationals admitted with paroles under the Family Reunification Parole program in Havana are eligible for refugee services on the same basis as other Cuban/Haitian entrants.

Eligibility Retention: Do Cuban and Haitian parolees retain their eligibility for refugee services when their parole expires?

Yes, based on guidance from ORR, once granted parole, Cuban and Haitian parolees retain eligibility even if their status expires, they receive some other status at a later time, or even if they receive a final order of removal.

Length of Parole: If a Cuban or Haitian is granted parole for less than a year, upon entering the United States via the Southwest border, for example, does that affect eligibility for refugee services?

No, refugee program eligibility for Cuban and Haitian parolees is not affected by the length of parole or the port of entry into the United States.

Lautenberg Parolee Eligibility: If Lautenberg parolees come to the United States through the refugee admission process, are they eligible for refugee program benefits?

The Lautenberg Amendment allowed adjustment of status of certain Cambodian, Vietnamese, or Soviet nationals paroled into the United States in the company of relatives admitted as refugees or Amerasians. These individuals are not refugees themselves and are not eligible for refugee services. (The applicable code on the I-551 is LA6.)