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Advance Parole: Foreign Travel with a Pending Green Card Immigration Application

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Aliens who have applied to adjust status to that of permanent resident (to obtain a Green Card) or change nonimmigrant status must obtain Advance Parole from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before traveling abroad (foreign travel). However, due to recent changes to U.S. immigration law, travel outside of the United States may have severe consequences for certain aliens who are in the process of adjusting their status or changing their nonimmigrant status, even if they have obtained Advance Parole.

Such aliens may be found inadmissible to the United States upon return, their applications for adjustment or change of status may be denied, or both.
Under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, aliens who depart the United States after accruing certain periods of unlawful presence in the United States can be barred from admission, even if they have obtained Advance Parole. Those aliens who are unlawfully present in the United States for 180 days but less than one year become inadmissible for three years; those who are unlawfully present for more than one year become inadmissible for 10 years.

Aliens who have concerns about their admissibility should contact an immigration attorney (this link will help you find the right lawyer for your case) or an immigrant assistance organization. A list of accredited organizations and individuals is maintained by the Executive Office of Immigration Review, which also maintains a list of free legal service providers.

What is Advance Parole?
Advance Parole is permission for certain aliens, who do not have a valid immigrant visa (or Green Card), to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad. Such aliens must be approved for Advance Parole before leaving the United States. If they have not obtained Advance Parole prior to traveling abroad, they will abandon their application with the USCIS and will not be permitted to re-enter the United States upon their return.

Who needs Advance Parole?
Aliens in the United States who have:

  • an application for adjustment of status pending (to obtain a Green Card);

  • been admitted as a refugee or have been granted asylum;

  • been granted benefits under the Family Unity Program;

  • been granted Temporary Protected Status;

  • an asylum application pending; and/or

  • an emergent personal or bona fide reason to travel temporarily abroad.

Note: Aliens holding valid H-1 (temporary worker in a specialty occupation) or L-1 (intra-company transferee) visas and their dependants in H-4 or L-2 status who have filed for adjustment of status do not have to file for Advance Parole as long as they maintain their non-immigrant status.

Who is not eligible for Advance Parole?
Aliens in the United States are not eligible for Advance Parole if they are:

  • in the United States without a valid immigration status;

  • an exchange alien subject to the foreign residence requirement;

  • the beneficiary of a private bill; or

  • under removal proceedings.

How does one obtain Advance Parole?
File USCIS Form I-131 (Application for Travel Document), complete with supporting documentation, photos and fee, at your local USCIS office or the Service Center having jurisdiction over your place of residence. This form is also available by calling 1-800-870-3676, or by submitting a request through the USCIS forms by mail system.  After receiving USCIS Form I-131, read it carefully and note the documentation and photos that must be submitted.  Detailed information is provided in the instructions.  Further information on immigration forms, filing fees, and fee waivers is available in USCIS Forms / INS Forms and Other US Immigration Forms, Fees & Filing Locations.

Does Advance Parole guarantee admission into the United States?
No, Advance Parole does not guarantee admission into the United States. Aliens who have obtained Advance Parole are still subject to the USCIS inspection process at the port of entry.

How Can I Check the Status of My Application for Advance Parole?
You may check the status of your application or case online, by phone, or by contacting an appropriate USCIS office. For details see USCIS Case Status: Check USCIS Case Status for Visas and Immigration. You may also want to review US Visa Wait Times and USCIS Immigration Processing Times. For more assistance, see HELP! (below).

How Can I Appeal if I am Denied Advance Parole?
If your application for advance parole is denied, you will receive a letter that will tell you why the application was denied. You will not be allowed to appeal a negative decision to a higher authority. However, you may submit a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider with the office that made the unfavorable decision. By filing these motions, you may ask the office to reexamine or reconsider their decision. A motion to reopen must state the new facts that are to be provided in the reopened proceeding and must be accompanied by affidavits or other documentary evidence. A motion to reconsider must establish that the decision was based on an incorrect application of law or USCIS policy, and further establish that the decision was incorrect based on the evidence in the file at the time the decision was made. For more information, see How to Appeal if USCIS Denied My Petition or Application (US Immigration, Green Card Denial).

HELP! with Advance Parole or Foreign Travel Abroad

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Your use of this website indicates your agreement to be bound by our Terms of Use. The information provided in this site is not legal advice, is intended to provide basic understanding in summary form, may not be comprehensive, is subject to change, and may not apply to you. Your individual circumstances should be confirmed with the appropriate government agencies or an attorney.
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