What is Advance Parole? A person with a pending application for legal permanent residency through marriage or other basis may travel outside of the United States with a travel document called Advance Parole. When USCIS issues an advance parole travel document, the holder is permitted to appear at a U.S. port of entry to seek entry into the United States. The travel document acts like a visa and may be accepted in lieu of a visa, though it does not replace any required passport.
Advance Parole does not guarantee readmission into the United States.
Generally speaking, immigrants with a pending application for adjustment of status who leave the United States are believed to have abandoned their petition. Any pending applications or petitions would subsequently be denied, forcing the applicant to start the process over (if they still qualify for an adjustment of status). Thus, if you are applying for advance parole on the basis of a pending application for adjustment of status, you must be approved for advance parole prior to leaving the United States in order to avoid the termination of their pending application for adjustment.
There are only five exceptions to this standard:
Considering this, the greatest risk of traveling with advance parole is that by some mistake—whether of your own doing or by USCIS—your pending application for an adjustment of status will be immediately denied. Considering the significant processing time for such petitions, that could set your Green Card application back 1 – 2 years.
An advance parole travel document doesn’t entitle you to parole into the United States—it simply allows you to travel to a U.S. port of entry and request parole into the United States. At the end of the day, the final decision to grant you parole lies with the CBP officer at the port of entry. There is also a risk that the Department of Homeland Security may revoke or terminate your advance parole document while you are outside of the U.S. Unfortunately, both DHS and USCIS have the authority to take such action at any time. Unless you have other travel documents that permit entry into the United States, you will be denied re-admission into the country and your pending adjustment of status application will be denied.
If you have any issues with unlawful presence (e.g. undocumented immigrants) or an overstay (e.g. expired visa), you should not leave the United States—even with an approved advance parole document. If you do leave the country, you may be subject to a 3- or 10-year travel ban when you attempt to re-enter the United States. Finally, even if everything goes according to plan and you are re-admitted to the United States with an advance parole document, you will enter the country on parole as an “arriving alien.” In some cases, this can create some issues with your pending Green Card application.
In most cases, an immigrant must apply for and receive advance parole before leaving the United States. In rare circumstances USCIS may issue an advance parole document to an individual who is currently outside of the United States, but these instances are restricted to urgent humanitarian reasons, law enforcement issues, and homeland security-related matters.
What to Submit if You Are Inside the U.S.: Applicants for advance parole must submit Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, along with the standard filing fee. You must be physically present in the United States when you file the re-entry permit and complete the biometric services requirement, if applicable. USCIS typically takes around 90 days to process an advance parole application. Immigrants who are currently in the United States should include the following documents and supporting evidence with their application for advance parole:
Humanitarian & Law Enforcement Requests by Immigrants Outside the U.S.: Immigrants who are currently outside of the U.S. & who qualify for advance parole based on extraordinary circumstances should include the following documents and supporting evidence with their application:
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