Logo de Confidencial Digital




After Arriving in the USA with Parole, What Comes Next?

A beginner’s survival guide for Nicaraguans in the USA: the initial immigration procedures, requirements, and tips to start working.

guía parole

Ilustración: Confidencial

Redacción Confidencial

27 de febrero 2024


Thousands of Nicaraguans have arrived in the United States through humanitarian parole, which allows them to live and work in the country for a period of two years. However, upon arrival, most are confronted with a completely new world. In many cases, English is the first major barrier to managing their documentation and integrating into the daily life of the state where they will live in.

What should Nicaraguans accepted into the parole program do after arriving in the United States? CONFIDENCIAL spoke with experts from different areas to create a starter and survival guide for Nicaraguans, starting with the initial immigration procedures, requirements, and tips for starting work.

The process of renting a room or apartment, getting around, and accessing medical services can also be tedious for a newly arrived person. This guide also addresses general concerns about these demands.

Immigration experts emphasize the importance of meeting each requirement requested by the parole program to avoid problems with US authorities and their immigration status.

According to official figures up to January 2024 over 64,000 Nicaraguans have been authorized to travel to the United States with humanitarian parole. Of those, over 58,000 have already arrived in the United States through the program, which allows them to live and work in the country for two years.


Nicaraguans have been authorized to travel to the United States on humanitarian parole, according to official figures until January 2024.


Nicaraguans have already arrived in the United States through the program, which allows them to live and work in the United States for two years.

What is the first thing I should do?

The number one priority for any Nicaraguan arriving with humanitarian parole in the United States is to complete the Employment Authorization Application through form I-765.

How to fill out form I-765

There are two options for filling out form I-765, depending on your level of English and experience: one is with legal assistance and another by yourself. In both cases, you must ensure that all your information is filled out correctly. Below we detail the requirements, costs, and procedures for each option.

If you do not speak English or have doubts about how to complete form I-765, you can seek assistance from duly certified paralegals to do it for you online or by mail. They will request the following documents:

  • Form I-94 (a copy of the document issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office at the airport upon arrival in the United States).
  • Copy of passport
  • Personal information (including phone number and residential address in the US where you will receive postal mail)
  • A visa-sized photograph
  • Deposit of $410, representing the form fee. Note that as of April 1, this amount will increase to $470 due to a fee update by USCIS. You can review this information at the following link: Frequently Asked Questions about USCIS Fee Rule

The estimated cost of paralegal services is $150 to $250 for filling out this permit. Another option with legal assistance is to hire an immigration lawyer, who charges around $250 per hour.

Fill out the form by yourself

Another option is to complete form I-765 yourself or with the support of a family member or someone who has done it before. To do this, you must log into your USCIS account and select the “My Account” window, and then the “File a form online” tab.

The site will open a menu selection bar, where you must choose the employment authorization form. When filling out the document, you will also need to check the box requesting your Social Security number. As you complete the form, it will ask you to upload a copy of your I-94, passport, and your photograph. And finally, you will need to pay the $410 fee.

How long does it take to receive my work permit?

The Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and Social Security Number (SSN) take around 30 to 90 days to be issued. However, there are cases where it arrives much earlier, says Carolina Sediles, a legal assistant at ACM Legal Services.

EADs serve as documentation to show employers that a person is authorized to work in the United States for a specific period. SSNs are used to report income to the government and to determine a person’s eligibility for certain benefits, according to USCIS on its website.

Once you have submitted form I-765, you should constantly check your postal mail and your USCIS account, which are the documentation channels through which they notify you of the biometric services appointment (fingerprinting and photograph), which you must attend before receiving your employment authorization.

The waiting period for work documentation varies in each case. If yours takes more than a month, you could seek employment by presenting your I-94 and your work permit application, which proves your legal status in the United States and the processing of your EAD and SSN, Sediles recommends, as some companies do agree to initiate work processes in that way.

Fulfilling Specific USCIS Requirements

Upon entering the United States with parole, individuals have 90 days to undergo tuberculosis screening, which is a blood test (interferon gamma release assay IGRA), and the result obtained must be added to their USCIS account. This test can cost from $80 to over $300. It is recommended to inquire at CVS pharmacies and clinics in different states.

Many Nicaraguans forget to comply with the tuberculosis screening, and not having this could affect any legal process later on, says Carolina Sediles.

Can I stay longer after the parole expires?

The stay of Nicaraguans entering the United States with parole is two years. Once that period ends, beneficiaries must leave the country if they do not have another type of immigration status. Remaining with an expired parole implies being illegal, explain immigration specialists.

Muriel Sáenz, a member of the organization Nicaraguans in the World Texas, recognized by the US Court, explains that to apply for asylum in the US, they must do so within the first year of entry, otherwise, the case becomes complicated.

“You cannot wait for a year and nine months and say no, I want to stay. I will apply for asylum… Do not wait because you only have that first year,” she recommends.

Can I apply for asylum in the United States after a year?

Yes, but the case becomes complicated because the applicant must explain why they did not file their process during the first year, and depending on the officer who reads their asylum application, it can be accepted or not. If not accepted, that application is transferred to the Court, and the process becomes defensive asylum, which involves appearing before an immigration judge. Otherwise, the type of asylum is affirmative, which applies to a person who is not in deportation proceedings and is requested from the US Government, with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Sediles notes that there are other alternatives besides asylum to stay after the two years allowed by parole. One of the possibilities is a work visa or if you have a resident family member who can request it. These legal avenues depend on each case. Therefore, the general recommendation is to seek legal advice as soon as you arrive with parole in the United States and not let time pass.

“If your main goal is to stay and change your status, you have to look for options immediately upon arrival. You don’t have to wait six months or until the two years pass or until the last minute,” she says.

Other Basic Needs for Nicaraguans in the United States


Renting as soon as you land in the US is complicated and expensive. In most states, a credit report and the monthly rent for the first month plus a deposit equivalent to the same amount are required. The advisable thing, once you want to leave the home of the family member or friend who received you, is to start searching for rental options. Alternatives range from a shared room, a basement, or a whole house.

Costs vary by state but renting a room with shared services ranges from $500 to $800 or more. The search is not easy, but you can start with Facebook pages and groups or through religious or migrant organizations that know rental options.


Getting around in the United States is also not easy if you do not have a private vehicle. Having a vehicle is a necessity. However, there are options depending on each state. It is advisable to inquire through Google Maps about the established routes in the city’s transportation system. Or visit their websites, which contain the required information in English.  Some cities have much better public transportation than others.

Using Uber and similar applications is also a possibility, but their prices are high. There are also people who provide taxi services and are popularly known as “raiteros”, from the word “ride” or aventon in Spanish.

These are some typical pages for public transportation:

– Miami: [Transportation & Public Works] (https://www.miamidade.gov/ )

– Maryland: [Schedules | Maryland Transit Administration] (https://mta.maryland.gov/schedules )

Health Services

Nicaraguans arriving with parole in the United States and already have a work permit and social security number can apply for the Affordable Care Act, more popularly known as “Obamacare”. This was “developed to help people access affordable health insurance through a health insurance marketplace where Americans can purchase federally subsidized and regulated health insurance during open enrollment”, as explained on its website.

The official call to apply for this insurance marketplace is in December. However, people with parole can evaluate their case as soon as they obtain their work and social documentation. The type of insurance will depend on the person’s needs and income.

“The insurance market offers you options, which you can pay nothing until you can pay $25, $30 a month,” explains Sediles. You can check options here (https://www.healthcare.gov/ ).

Nicaraguans can also go to urgent care centers, which are semi-private clinics, and the cost per consultation is estimated between $70 to $150. They are for general medical situations, without access to specialists.

And finally, there are state clinics that charge a minimal amount according to the person’s income. Sediles explains that it is important for compatriots to open up to this insurance market, as this way they will be covered in case of any medical emergency (depending on the insurance), especially traffic accidents.

This article was published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times. To get the most relevant news from our English coverage delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to The Dispatch.


Your contribution allows us to report from exile.

The dictatorship forced us to leave Nicaragua and intends to censor us. Your financial contribution guarantees our coverage on a free, open website, without paywalls.

Redacción Confidencial

Redacción Confidencial

Confidencial es un diario digital nicaragüense, de formato multimedia, fundado por Carlos F. Chamorro en junio de 1996. Inició como un semanario impreso y hoy es un medio de referencia regional con información, análisis, entrevistas, perfiles, reportajes e investigaciones sobre Nicaragua, informando desde el exilio por la persecución política de la dictadura de Daniel Ortega y Rosario Murillo.