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Refugees & Asylum
Refugee status or asylum may be granted to foreign nationals who have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion.

  • Refugees
  • Refugee status provides a form of protection for those who meet the definition of refugee and who are of special humanitarian concern to the United States. Refugees are generally considered to be people outside of their country who are unable or unwilling to return home because they fear serious harm. 
  • Asylum
  • Asylum provides a form of protection available to people who: (1) meet the definition of refugee; (2) are already in the United States; (3) are seeking admission at a port of entry

Humanitarian parole
Allows a foreign national, who is otherwise inadmissible, to enter the United States for a temporary period of time due to a compelling emergency.

USCIS may grant parole temporarily:

  • To anyone applying for admission into the United States based on urgent humanitarian reasons or if there is a significant public benefit.
  • For a period of time that corresponds with the length of the emergency or humanitarian situation

Parolees must depart the United States before the expiration of their parole. Parole does not grant any immigration benefits.

VAWA - Battered spouse, children & parents
Violence against Women Act (VAWA) allows certain spouses, children and parents of abusive U.S. citizens and permanent residents to file a petition for themselves without the abuser's knowledge. This allows the battered spouse/parent/child to seek both safety and independence from the abuser. The provisions of VAWA apply equally to women and men. The abuser will not be notified that the foreign national has filed for immigration benefits under VAWA.

Victims of human trafficking & other crimes

  • T-visa
  • This temporary/nonimmigrant status provides immigration protection to victims of trafficking. The T Visa allows victims to remain in the United States and assist law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking cases.
  • U-visa
  • This temporary/nonimmigrant status provides immigration protection to crime victims who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse as a result of the crime. The U visa allows victims to remain in the United States and assist law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.

Temporary protected status
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a temporary immigration benefit that allows qualified individuals from designated countries (or parts of those countries) who are in the U.S. to stay in the U.S. for a limited time period. The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a country for TPS due to certain conditions in that country, that temporarily prevent its nationals from returning safely to that country. A TPS country designation may be based on a natural disaster, armed conflict, or other extraordinary temporary conditions in the country.