By Dev B. Viswanath, Esq.
An individual who has applied for permanent residency but would like to travel outside of the U.S. while the application is pending should file an application for advance parole. If advance parole is not granted and an individual leaves the U.S., then they risk the possibility of forfeiting their residency application. Advance parole is not only for individuals who have applied for permanent residency, other categories of visa applicants in the U.S. can apply for advance parole in order to travel abroad without jeopardizing abandonment of their status.
When an individual files their Applications for Permanent Residence (usually through adjustment of status), and Application for Employment Authorization, the Application for Advance Parole, can be filed at the same time. An individual may not leave the U.S. until the advance parole application is approved.
It is pertinent to note that while the same form may be used for a re-entry permit and Advance Parole, the two benefits are very different, and d that difference should be recognized. An individual who applies for advance parole together with an employment authorization card, and is granted both, will be issued a “combo card.” A combo card is a version of the employment authorization card that contains the words “SERVES AS I-512 ADVANCE PAROLE” on the bottom of it.
Advanced parole will either be granted for a single use or for multiple trips. The period of validity of advanced parole is at the discretion of USCIS. In the past, USCIS was required to decide employment authorization applications within ninety days of receipt but now that mandate has been rescinded, under this administration. Consequently, applicants who have applied for adjustment of status are seeing major delays in the issuance of employment authorization and advance parole cards.
It is now taking several more months for these documents to be adjudicated. Applicants should make plans accordingly to accommodate these delays. However, individuals who may be in some other status that allows for international travel, such as O visas, H1 B visas, and L1 visas, maybe in a position to travel even if their advance parole document was not granted, and they may be allowed to reenter based on that visa status. The only consideration on that matter is that travel and admission based on another nonimmigrant status may not protect the underlying adjustment application.
If you are in the United States and applying for lawful permanent residence and foresee international travel before your “green card”, is granted, and then advance parole will help you to accomplish your goals and preserve your application. Applicants who may have overstayed their visas or who have some other violation that may render them inadmissible should consult with an experienced attorney to make sure that advance parole will help them in being able to travel while a permanent residence application is pending.