How to Apply for a Humanitarian Visa

If you or a loved one is facing an emergency situation, you may be eligible to obtain a humanitarian visa. Also known as humanitarian parole, this type of immigration relief is available in a narrow set of circumstances. Though, under United States immigration law, there are multiple humanitarian options and protections that you might be able to access. These legal protections are designed to assist individuals who are in urgent need of help. Here, our experienced Los Angeles immigration lawyer discusses some of the key things that you need to know about applying for a humanitarian visa.

What are the Requirements to Apply for a Humanitarian Visa?

Under U.S. law, any person around the world is eligible to file an application for a humanitarian visa. In fact, this type of application can be filed directly by the individual who is seeking the urgent immigration relief, by the applicant’s relative or even by an attorney or human rights organization that is attempting to help. However, it must be made clear that obtaining a humanitarian visa is not easy. An applicant cannot use this process to go around the standard immigration processes and procedures. To be sure, a humanitarian visa will only be granted if there is a qualifying urgent, emergency circumstance.

What Types of Situations Qualify for Humanitarian Parole?  

There are many different circumstances that could potentially allow an applicant to obtain humanitarian parole. This includes situations in which a person is in immediate need of aid from a natural disaster, protection from foreign government oppression, emergency medical help or if there is another type of time-sensitive safety threat. Some of the most common examples include:

Ultimately, some discretion is granted to immigration authorities when determining whether or not a situation qualifies for humanitarian relief. Many different factors will need to be assessed by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials. The best thing that any applicant (or supporting family member) can do is to work with a qualified attorney who has the skills and experience needed to prepare the strongest possible case for humanitarian parole.

What You Need to Know About the Humanitarian Visa Application Process

When you submit an immigration package for humanitarian relief, it is imperative that all required paperwork and legal forms are completed properly, without error. Further, you must be sure to include all relevant documents and records. Generally, you will need to include all of the following:  

  • The original form I-131, which is the official U.S. application for travel document;
  • The original form I-134, which is the affidavit of support document;
  • All filing and application fees; and
  • Copies of any other previous immigration records, including prior immigration petitions.

From there, you will need to have a detailed explanation that establishes precisely why you should be entitled to humanitarian parole; and an explanation of how long you will need that relief. Further, you must also be able to explain why you cannot obtain a U.S. visa through other, more traditional means. Finally, compelling supporting documents and records must be included with this explanation. For example, if you are applying for medical parole, you must have sufficient documents and records from your doctor that back up your need for a humanitarian visa.

Decision and Appeal Rights

When you submit your application, you can expect to receive a decision within 120 days. Though, in certain emergency situations, you may be able to speed up the application process. If your request for humanitarian parole is approved, you will receive official notification in writing. If your request is denied, you will not have any appeal rights. This makes it critically important that you submit a strong initial application. You can only re-file your application should new information arise. A weak initial application will severely damage your chances of obtaining much needed humanitarian parole. The bottom line: You need to work with a qualified immigration lawyer

Do You Need Assistance Applying for a Humanitarian Visa?

We can help. At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, our dedicated immigration law team has a proven track record of success handling these cases. To schedule an immediate, confidential review of your claim, please call us today at (213) 514-8870. From our office in the heart of Los Angeles, we serve clients throughout the region, including in Ventura County, Orange County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County.