Important changes for Venezuelans hoping to come to the United States

Last updated on October 27, 2022

The U.S. government recently made a big announcement that will affect Venezuelans who have not yet arrived in the United States. If you are Venezuelan and currently living in the United States, this announcement does not affect your case.

Here are the changes announced by the U.S. government:

  1. Unfortunately, most Venezuelans who arrive at the Mexico-U.S. border to seek asylum after October 19, 2022 will not be allowed to enter the United States. Instead, the U.S. government will send most Venezuelan asylum seekers back to Mexico. This is true even if you present yourself at a bridge or an official Port of Entry. Many people and groups are fighting back against this change.
  2. There is now a new process for Venezuelans outside the United States. The new process would allow some Venezuelans to travel by airplane to the U.S. and receive a temporary status called “parole.” However, at the moment the process will be limited to only 24,000 Venezuelans and only people who have a financial sponsor in the United States. Please keep reading for more information.

Although we hope parts of the new process will be helpful to some Venezuelans, we at the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) do not agree with parts of the announcement that limit asylum. We will update you as we learn more and we will continue to fight for the right to asylum for people from all countries.

What is the new process for Venezuelans?

The new process would allow some Venezuelans and their immediate family members who are currently outside the United States to come to the United States by airplane. Venezuelans who are approved under this new process would receive a temporary status called “parole” that permits them to live in the United States for up to two years. The new process requires having a financial sponsor (called a “supporter”) in the United States.

Please note: If you are Venezuelan and currently living in the United States, this new process does not affect your case. However, the new process could affect the options available for your loved ones outside of the United States.

If you are NOT Venezuelan, this new process also does not affect you, but you can find many other helpful resources here!

Who is eligible for the new process?

You might be eligible for the new process if:

  • You are a citizen of Venezuela AND you are currently outside the United States.
  • Someone with lawful status in the United States is willing to be your “supporter” and show proof that they can financially support you for up to 2 years.

You will be disqualified from the new process for Venezuelans if:

  • You crossed the border into the United States, Mexico, or Panama without documents after October 19, 2022. 
  • You have been deported from the United States within the past 5 years.
  • You are a Venezuelan who has dual citizenship or permanent residence in another country. However, your spouse or one of your parents (if you are under 21 and not married) could still include you in their application.

You can find more details under “Eligibility” on this USCIS webpage.

How does the new process work?

  1. You must have a financial sponsor, called a “supporter,” who is already in the U.S. The “supporter” must have lawful status in the United States (for example: TPS, parole, asylum, lawful permanent residence, or U.S. citizenship). They must also complete a background check. And they must show proof that they can provide financial support for you for up to 2 years.
  2. Your “supporter” must fill out Form I-134 for each person they are sponsoring (called a “beneficiary”). If approved, you, as the “beneficiary,” will receive instructions to set up an online account. Using your online account, you will have to provide additional information, upload a valid passport and photo, and list the family members who are joining.
  3. If the additional information is approved, the U.S. government should then send you an official “advance travel authorization” which would give you and your family members 90 days to travel by airplane to the United States.
  4. When you and your family members arrive at the airport, a U.S. immigration official at the airport can grant “parole”, which provides temporary permission to stay in the United States for up to two years. Most people should receive parole at this stage. However, there is a small possibility that U.S. immigration officials could decide not to grant parole at the airport.
  5. If you and your family members receive parole, you will be allowed to enter the United States and can immediately apply for a work permit online under category (c)(11).

You can learn more detail and complete the steps online at this USCIS webpage. Please keep in mind that because this process is new, we do not yet know how long it will take.

Other common questions about the new process

What does this process cost?

There are no application fees for this new process. However, someone must purchase the airline tickets to travel to the United States. Also, the “supporter” in the U.S. must show proof that they have enough financial resources to support the basic needs of the Venezuelan “beneficiary” for up to 2 years.

Can this process be used to bring a child to the United States?

Yes. But if they are under 18, they can only use this process if they will travel with a parent or legal guardian.

Do I need a valid Venezuelan passport for this process?

Yes. You and qualified family members must each have a valid passport. However, the U.S. government will accept certain expired Venezuelan passports. For more information, see this USCIS webpage and scroll down to “What to Expect After Filing Form I-134”.

If I enter the United States and receive parole through this new process, can I still apply for asylum?

Yes! If you receive parole, you can still apply for asylum in the United States. For many people, this may be important because parole is only temporary. You can learn more about asylum and the process of applying for it here.

More information for potential “supporters” in the United States

Can a person currently seeking asylum in the United States be a “supporter” to sponsor someone in this process? 

Unfortunately, as far as we know right now, someone in the process of seeking asylum cannot sign Form I-134 to be the supporter, unless they also have another legal status such as TPS or parole. Find more information under “Who Can be a Supporter” on this USCIS webpage.

Will the “supporter” be required to pay all the living expenses for the “beneficiary” they sponsor for two years?

Usually not. To file the Form I-134 to begin the process, the supporter must show that they would have the financial ability to provide for the basic needs of the beneficiary. But after the beneficiary receives parole at the airport, they can apply immediately for their own work permit and earn their own income.

How much money is required to be a “supporter”?

There is no specific amount of money or income. But when the supporter files Form I-134 to begin the process, they will need to upload proof like pay stubs and bank account statements to show that they could provide a person arriving in the United States with basic needs like housing and food to start a new life here. You can read more details at this USCIS webpage under “Who Can Be a Supporter”.

Note: This information is not a substitute for advice from an attorney.