The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has unveiled a new Family Reunification Parole (FRP) process for Ecuador, marking a strategic move by the Biden-Harris Administration to combine expanded lawful pathways with strengthened enforcements to address irregular migration, which aligns with the administration’s commitment to fostering safe and orderly migratory pathways.  

The FRP process for Ecuador is an invitation-only system designed for specific Ecuadorian nationals. It allows eligible beneficiaries to be considered for parole into the United States while awaiting the availability of their family-based immigrant visa. The primary goal is to facilitate quicker family reunifications and offer a safer alternative to the dangerous journey of irregular migration. 

Eligible beneficiaries are those with an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and they must meet a variety of requirements, including screening, vetting and medical requirements. An important requirement is that these beneficiaries should not have already received an immigrant visa before.  

The process is initiated when the Department of State extends and invitation to a certain U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident petitioners whose Form I-130 for a beneficiary from Ecuador has been approved. These beneficiaries include certain relatives of U.S. citizens, such as children and siblings, and relatives of permanent residents, such as spouses and children.  

Notice of implementation of a family reunification parole process for Ecuadorians

To start the process, the invited petitioner files a request to be a supporter of the beneficiary and eligible family members, who may be considered for advanced travel authorization and parole. The USCIS will start using Form I-134A, Online Request to be a Supporter and Declaration of Financial Support, for this process starting from November 17, 2023. 

Parole, granted on a case-by-case and temporary basis, will be authorized only after determining urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons and the beneficiary’s favorable exercise of discretion. Those paroled under this FRP process for Ecuador may be authorized for up to three years and can request employment authorization while awaiting their immigrant visa. Once the immigrant visa is available, they may apply to become a lawful permanent resident.  

The discretionary authority for parole is derived from Section 212(d)(5)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, vested in Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. This authority has been previously exercised to establish family reunification parole processes for other countries, such as the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program in 2007 and the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program in 2014.

More is coming

The USCIS announced similar FRP processes for Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in July and updated the processes for Cuba and Haiti in August. The Federal Register notice provides comprehensive details on the application process and full eligibility criteria for the new FRP process for Ecuador.