In most cases, a person who entered the United States without inspection (i.e., without presenting documents to an official) cannot obtain a green card without leaving the country which runs the risk of a 10-year bar against returning). A grant of Parole in Place allows an applicant to seek a green card without departing the United States, which is safer, more convenient, and can be done with greater legal protections.
The application is discretionary, meaning that approval is not automatic. The Department will look at hardship to the military service member and the applicant’s history of good conduct in the community.
After being granted Parole in Place, the applicant will get work authorization but must still fulfill all other requirements for a green card. Among other requirements, a green card will only be immediately available if the applicant is the Immediate Relative of a U.S. citizen. An Immediate Relative is a spouse, a child under 21 years of age, or a parent where the child-citizen is 21 years of age or over. Those in other categories (adult or married sons/daughters of U.S. citizens, siblings of U.S. citizens, and spouses or children of lawful permanent residents (LPRs)) will usually not qualify for a green card because they are required to have never fallen out of lawful immigration status. This is a restriction that does not apply to immediate relatives as listed above.
Be aware that the future of the Parole in Place program is in question under the current presidential administration. Be sure to get the most current information before pursuing this option.
To determine whether your current or former military status could make a difference in the immigration status of your family members, always consult first with a licensed attorney experienced in immigration.