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Benefits for US military family members who are undocumented

Under most circumstances, undocumented immigrants are prohibited from applying for adjustment of status from within the U.S. Additionally, if they leave to apply for a green card, they could be penalized for their illegal stay with a ban of re-entry for three to 10 years.

However, an exception to this rule exists for undocumented people who have a family member that is a U.S. citizen and currently serves (or previously served) in the U.S. armed forces or military reserves. The federal government determined that, for such service members, the prospect of a family member's deportation could negatively impact their military performance. 

Therefore, if such a service member has parents, a spouse or children (unmarried and under 21 years old) who are undocumented immigrants, these family members may apply for Parole in Place (PIP). This authorization enables them to apply for adjustment of status without leaving the U.S.

We've answered some common questions surrounding PIP below:

Are all qualifying applicants accepted?

Applying for PIP does not guarantee you'll be accepted. The USCIS considers each case individually. In its policy memorandum, the USCIS notes that military service works to an applicant's advantage, while a criminal conviction could hurt an applicant's chances of approval. It's advisable to consult with immigration attorney to understand your chances of approval before applying.

Does PIP fix other immigration problems?

No. PIP does not give you a clean slate. If you have ever been arrested or have ignored an order for deportation, for example, a PIP authorization will not erase these issues. Under such circumstances, talking to an immigration attorney is always a good idea.

Does PIP give you the right to work in the U.S.? 

Not by itself. However, if you're granted PIP, you'll have the ability to apply for employment authorization at the time that you apply for adjustment of status.

If approved, how long is PIP good for?

The authorization is valid for one year, after which applicants can apply for renewal.

If you're an undocumented immigrant living in the U.S., coming clean to federal authorities about your illegal status can be extraordinarily stressful. That's one reason having an experienced immigration attorney advocating on your behalf can be so beneficial.

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