Last Updated on February 23, 2023
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced a new Parole Process for Venezuelans seeking to enter the United States. The process provides a lawful and streamlined means of application for entry to the U.S. for those meeting certain requirements. After assuming office in 2021, President Biden outlined a plan to reform the immigration system in the U.S. This latest initiative, made in collaboration with the government of Mexico, intends to address the growing humanitarian crisis of Venezuelan refugees at the U.S.-Mexico border and the need for safer legal entry options between the two countries.
Since 2014, millions of Venezuelan nationals have fled their country due to severe economic and humanitarian hardships. According to DHS, about 25% of the population has left the country since 2014, many of whom seek entry to the U.S. primarily through the southern border. DHS classifies the migration pattern of Venezuelans as “acute irregular migration,” which is a migration pattern that has prevailed across Central America for many years.
According to DHS, the U.S. has seen a surge of Venezuelans at the southern border over the past two years, and migration levels have spiked in the past few months. Between fiscal year (FY) 2021 and 2022, the U.S. had a 293% increase in Venezuelan arrivals at the border.
To control irregular migration from Venezuela, the Biden Administration, with the assistance of the government of Mexico, has coordinated the launch of a new process to lawfully admit up to 24,000 qualifying Venezuelans into the U.S.
To apply for entry into the U.S. by air, eligible applicants must provide proof that they entered Mexico before October 13, 2022. Additionally, in order to be eligible for entry to the U.S., qualifying Venezuelans must:
- Have a supporter located in the U.S. who will provide all necessary support, including financial support.
- Pass a biometric and biographic public safety screening and vetting for national security.
- Complete all vaccination requirements and other public health requirements.
Venezuelans will be ineligible for lawful entry into the U.S. if they:
- Have been ordered to be removed from the country in the past five years.
- Have crossed into the U.S. without authorization between ports of entry after the date of the program’s announcement.
- Irregularly entered Panama or Mexico after the announcement date.
- Are a permanent resident or dual national of any country besides Venezuela.
- Currently hold refugee status in another country.
- Have not completed all vaccinations or met public health requirements.
The U.S. government will work with the Mexican government to ensure Mexico accepts the return of Venezuelans who attempt to enter the U.S. without authorization.
The U.S. government’s attempt to regulate migration from Venezuela is modeled on the Uniting for Ukraine (U4U) program, which was implemented to regulate migration from Ukraine at the start of its crisis earlier in 2022. DHS will monitor the Venezuela program’s implementation. The program may be expanded in the future if it is successful.
In partnership with Mexico, the U.S. government is also committing to expanding lawful labor pathways for Mexican and northern Central American nationals. According to DHS’s announcement, the U.S. doubled the number of H-2B visas given to nationals of northern Central American countries in FY 2022. In FY 2023, the U.S. government will release 65,000 new H-2B visas, including 20,000 reserved for individuals from Haiti and northern Central America. Along with allocating more visas, the U.S. government is providing more financial assistance to Mexico and Central America.
Eligible Venezuelans seeking entry into the U.S., and representatives who want to apply as a supporter to sponsor a potential beneficiary from Venezuela, must apply through the designated USCIS website.
Venezuelans approved for lawful entry to the U.S. through this program will be eligible to apply for work authorization upon entry.
The new Venezuelan program is part of the Biden Administration’s efforts to reduce irregular migration across the Western Hemisphere. According to the DHS announcement, the program is designed to simultaneously increase enforcement and prevent individuals from unlawfully entering the country while establishing safe and lawful pathways for qualified individuals.
Along with assisting Venezuelans, the U.S. is also committed to helping other countries in the region most impacted by irregular migration. The U.S. is providing over $200 million in aid to humanitarian and security efforts across Central America. These measures are also intended to create safer legal crossing options for select migrants entering the U.S.
Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Ashley Knowland and Jacyln Pettit, who are Partners at Global Immigration Associates (GIA), one of the two independent U.S. law firms Envoy exclusively works with on the Envoy Platform (the "U.S. Law Firms").
Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an attorney at one of the two U.S. Law Firms working with the Envoy Platform or another qualified professional. On non-U.S. immigration issues, consult an Envoy global immigration service provider or another qualified representative.