Humanitarian visa in the USA: what is it, price, requirements and how to apply for it?

Also known as parole or humanitarian permission for persons outside the United States, the humanitarian visa is the option for those who have an urgent humanitarian or public interest reason to stay temporarily in the United States.

What is a humanitarian visa?

Although the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not provide a regulatory definition of the term "urgent humanitarian reasons," officials evaluate on a case-by-case basis where they consider factors such as the sensitivity of the applicant's circumstances and the degree of hardship that may result if permission is not granted.

A humanitarian visa allows foreign nationals to live and work in the United States without being formally admitted to the country under the Immigration Act. It is important to note that this process cannot be used to circumvent denied visa applications or to avoid applying for a waiver. In addition, USCIS may deny a humanitarian visa application if it is used to circumvent other visa requirements.


USCIS states that anyone may apply for a humanitarian visa for temporary stay, but it is generally granted to individuals with medical or emergency situations or who need to be in the country for reasons of public interest.

According to USCIS, examples of urgent humanitarian circumstances could include, but are not limited to:
  • Receiving medical treatment in the United States
  • Donating organs to a person in the U.S.
  • Reuniting with a family member who is in the U.S. for urgent humanitarian reasons
  • Caring for or providing support to a family member who is in the U.S. with a serious or terminal illness
  • Attending a funeral or coordinating the affairs of a deceased family member in the U.S.
  • Coming to the U.S. for protection from prosecution or personal harm
  • Participating in legal proceedings in the U.S.
An important factor considered in determining whether the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will exercise discretion in granting the humanitarian visa for temporary stay is whether the beneficiary will have means of support while in the United States, according to USCIS. This requires evidence of a sponsor who will provide financial support to the beneficiary of a permit.

The USCIS warns that failure to provide evidence of financial sponsorship for your stay in the United States will be taken as "a compelling negative factor" that could result in the denial of the humanitarian visa for temporary stay.

How to apply for a humanitarian visa?
  • To apply for a humanitarian visa, you must complete and sign Form I-131, Application for Travel Document.
  • You must also complete and sign Form I-134, Affidavit of Economic Sponsorship, which will demonstrate that you "will not become a public charge" while in the United States.
  • Pay for and attach additional documentation to support the petition such as medical reports, letters, death certificates, i.e. all additional and detailed supporting documentation to demonstrate that an emergency exists.
  • Once the documentation is submitted, the USCIS will respond by letter to the petitioner between 90 and 120 days after submission.
  • In some cases, you will be required to appear for an interview.
  • In emergency cases, it may take a matter of days for the permit to be granted.
  • Requirements and how to apply for an H-2B temporary work visa in the U.S.
How much does the humanitarian permit cost?

The fee varies depending on the age of the applicant. For a 27 year old, the fee is US$ 575, for example. Here you can calculate the fee, just select the corresponding form (I-131), your age and the type of application you wish to make (in this case, it would be Temporary Foreign Travel).

In case you cannot cover the cost of the humanitarian visa, you can apply for a fee waiver and prove that you cannot afford it. If you require more information about this process you can find it in this link.