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Advance Parole

Most aliens who have pending applications for adjustment of status need to obtain an advance parole document in order to leave the United States without abandoning the pending application and to return to the United States after traveling abroad. An advance parole document is issued solely to authorize the person who travels to a U.S. port of entry to seek parole into the United States to await the adjudication of the pending application.

An advance parole document does not permit a nonimmigrant who has a pending application for a change of nonimmigrant status or for extension of nonimmigrant stay to travel abroad without abandoning the application. If a nonimmigrant leaves while a change of status or extension of stay application is pending, the application is abandoned.

An alien’s application for an advance parole document on the basis of a pending application for adjustment of status must be approved prior to leaving the United States. Whether to grant advance parole is a matter of USCIS discretion. If an alien with a pending Form I-485 requests an advance parole document, and USCIS grants it, USCIS normally issues a 1-year, multiple-use advance parole document. If the alien leaves prior to issuance of the advance parole document, his or her application for adjustment of status will be considered abandoned. There are certain exceptions to this consequence as listed below.

The following individuals, who have a pending application for adjustment of status, may depart the United States without an advance parole document and without having their adjustment-of-status application considered abandoned:

  • Individuals in H-1B (Specialty Workers) and L-1 (Intracompany Tranferee) status, and their dependents (H-4 and L-2), who maintain their status and possess valid visas;
  • Individuals in V-2/3 visa status who maintain valid V nonimmigrant status and possess a valid V visa or who will obtain a V visa before applying for readmission to the United States;
  • Individuals in K-3/4 nonimmigrant status who have maintained their status and possess a valid nonimmigrant visa or obtain a valid K-3/4 nonimmigrant visa before applying for readmission to the United States. (Note: Upon returning to the United States, you must present your valid H, L, K, or V nonimmigrant visa and continue to be eligible for that status.)
  • Refugees and asylees who have applied to adjust to permanent resident status under section 209 of the Act may travel outside the United States on a valid Refugee Travel Document and do not need to apply for an advance parole document.

In certain circumstances applicants for other immigration benefits, such as under NACARA, HRIFA, or Temporary Protective Status, may be able to obtain an advance parole document. Aliens in the United States should, prior to departure, obtain an advance parole document in order to return to the United States after travel abroad if they have:

  • Filed an application for adjustment of status but have not received a decision from USCIS;
  • Hold refugee or asylee status and intend to depart temporarily to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa in Canada; or
  • An emergent personal or any other non-emergent bona fide reason (such as a need for business travel) to travel temporarily abroad.

Any person who is in the United States, but has accrued at least 180 days of unlawful presence, should carefully consider whether to leave the United States with an advance parole document. As discussed earlier, leaving the United States may make the person inadmissible to the United States. Even if the person is paroled into the United States upon return, the alien may no longer be eligible for adjustment of status.

USCIS generally will not grant an advance parole document to an alien who is in the United States if the alien is:
  • In the United States illegally;
  • An exchange alien subject to the foreign residence requirement; or
  • In exclusion, deportation, removal, or rescission proceedings.

Please note that issuance of an advance parole document does not guarantee admission into the United States. In fact, an alien who has an advance parole document will generally be paroled into the United States, rather than admitted. Aliens with advance parole documents are still subject to immigration inspection at the port of entry. A separate decision whether to parole the alien is made each time the person presents himself or herself for inspection at a port of entry with the advance parole document.

If an applicant is granted an advance parole document, but is determined upon return to the United States to be inadmissible (and parole is not appropriate), he or she will be placed in removal proceedings challenging their admissibility.

How do I apply for Advance Parole?

The alien must file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, complete with supporting documentation, photos and applicable fees. A copy of any document issued to the alien by USCIS or former INS showing present status in the United States; An explanation or other evidence demonstrating the circumstances that warrant issuance of Advance Parole. If the alien is basing his or her eligibility for Advance Parole on a separate application for adjustment of status or asylum, he must also attach a copy of the filing receipt for that application. If the alien is traveling to Canada to apply for an immigrant visa, he or she must also attach a copy of the consular appointment.

To determine if you should apply for Advance Parole is a very critical decision to make. We can help you in making that decision. For assistance and help with Advance Parole, click here >