Get answers to frequently asked questions about the expanded USCIS sponsorship programs for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans.
What is the humanitarian sponsorship program for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans seeking safety?
USCIS launched a streamlined process that allows eligible families and individuals seeking safety from violence and oppression in Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela to apply for humanitarian parole in the United States. This program is similar to Uniting for Ukraine, which offered safety to nearly 100,000 Ukrainians between April and December 2022.
Under these USCIS sponsorship programs, the U.S. government allows people fleeing from violence, oppression and strife in certain countries to seek refuge in the United States on a temporary basis known as humanitarian parole, with the support of a sponsor in the United States. The sponsor will provide financial support to meet the basic needs of newcomers, particularly before a newcomer secures a job, and may also provide additional support, such as assistance enrolling in educational or training programs or securing employment.
This humanitarian program represents a streamlined process to help individuals and families find safety in the United States through the support of a sponsor, like you.
What is humanitarian parole for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans?
Humanitarian parole allows individuals in urgent need of refuge to enter the United States and temporarily stay in the United States. While USCIS sponsorship uses humanitarian parole to respond to humanitarian crises in Ukraine, Venezuela, and Haiti (as examples), humanitarian parole itself is not new. It can be used on a case-by-case basis for other populations.
Humanitarian parole provides:
- An efficient path to safety and refuge
- Temporary immigration status (two years)
- Ability to apply for work authorization
- Access to certain benefits, such as Health Exchange Marketplace insurance plans
Humanitarian parole does not provide:
- A pathway to permanent residency and citizenship
- Automatic work authorization
- Automatic access to refugee benefits and services (which must be granted by Congress, as it did for Ukrainians arriving under Uniting for Ukraine in May 2022).
Why are individuals and families fleeing Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela?
The in-country dynamics in each of these countries is fluid, and each person seeking safety may be doing so for different reasons. However, there are commonalities across these countries that have caused massive displacement in recent years, including rampant violence, political oppression and upheaval, gang violence, challenging economic conditions, and the effects of climate change on livelihoods. To quote the British poet Warsan Shire, “...no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.”
Do I need to be a family member to serve as a sponsor for a Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan, or Venezuelan?
No. USCIS sponsorship through humanitarian parole allows anyone to serve as a named sponsor, including extended family, employers, friends, or anyone else interested in welcoming those seeking refuge. You just have to have lawful presence in the U.S. and successfully submit an I-134 application for parole. Sign up here for more information as we develop tools to help sponsors connect with beneficiaries.
As part of their humanitarian parole I-134 application, sponsors will undergo background checks conducted by the Department of Homeland Security. Beneficiaries will also be fully vetted and screened as part of the approval process.
How can I be matched with a Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan, or Venezuelan to sponsor?
If you aren’t connected to someone in need of support, national diaspora and local community organizations can help match you with someone entering the United States who meets the beneficiary requirements. Welcome Connect also is available to support these populations; it is a platform that introduces potential sponsors to beneficiaries in need.