Advance Parole is generally defined as permission given by USCIS to an alien who does not have a valid immigrant visa, to re-enter the United States after temporarily traveling abroad. If you are such an alien, you must obtain Advance Parole from USCIS before you leave the U.S., or else you may not be allowed to re-enter when you return. In order to qualify for Advance Parole, you must be physically present in the U.S., have an “emergent” personal or bona fide reason to temporarily travel abroad, AND you must have previously:
- Filed an application for adjustment of status which is still pending;
- Obtained benefits under the Family Unity Program;
- Been granted Temporary Protected Status by the USCIS; and/or
- Have an asylum application pending with the USCIS.
If you have an application for adjustment of status pending with USCIS, it is very important that you obtain Advance Parole if you are going to temporarily travel abroad, as, if you do not do so, the INS will treat your adjustment of status application as having been abandoned and your file will be closed (See also the USCIS Foreign Travel Advisory below). If, however, you are a holder of a valid H-1, H-4, L-1, or L-2 visa AND you have filed an application for adjustment of status, as long as you have maintained your non-immigrant status and you obtained a valid visa stamp in your passport, you do NOT need to obtain Advance Parole in order to re-enter the U.S. after temporary travel abroad. If you have been admitted as a refugee or you have been granted asylum in the U.S., although you do not need to obtain Advance Parole in order to re-enter the U.S., you will have to obtain a “Refugee Travel Document”.
Finally, it is important to note that an Advance Parole or Refugee Travel Document does not guarantee your admission into the U.S., even though it seems by definition as if it would do so. As is always the case when entering the U.S. in alien status, you will still be subject to inspection by the INS at your point of entry.
FOREIGN TRAVEL ADVISORY: On November 22, 2000, USCIS (formerly INS) issued a Foreign Travel Advisory to persons with pending I-485 applications for adjustment of status in the United States. In short, this Travel Advisory warns that travel outside of the U.S. may produce severe immigration consequences for adjustment applicants who have been “unlawfully present” in the United States for more than 180 days. The term “unlawful presence“, while extremely complex and broad in scope, has been defined to mean “out of status”. Therefore, this rule would clearly apply to aliens who have overstayed their visa or entered without inspection – and after having done so, have been “unlawfully present” for more than 180 days.
Under this rule, your unlawful presence will only be counted against you if you leave the U.S. Thus, if you are an adjustment applicant, and you have been out of status for more than 180 days, and you leave the United States, you will trigger a law (“the inadmissibility bar”) which will penalize you by making you “inadmissible” and unable to re-enter the U.S. for up to:
THREE (3) YEARS, if you have been out of status for 180 days but less than a year, or up to
TEN (10) YEARS if you have been out of status for one year or more.
It is important to note that these harsh rules apply EVEN IF you have been granted Advance Parole by the USCIS and you have left and re-entered the U.S. without experiencing any problems with the USCIS — as you may later discover that the INS will use the inadmissibility bar against you as a basis to deny your adjustment application. The USCIS may even initiate removal (deportation) proceedings against you upon the ground that that you do not have valid immigration status. The consequences of violating this rule are severe and should not be taken lightly.
Since the inception of these penalty provisions of the immigration law, we have advised our clients who have pending applications for adjustment of status to STAY in the U.S. until their applications have been approved – or risk being denied re-entry, having their applications denied and/or being removed (deported) from the U.S. upon their return. While the decision to leave must ultimately be made by the client in consideration of all of the attending facts and circumstances, we continue to believe that this is sound advice which must be taken very seriously and acted against only in cases of extreme personal emergency.
For assistance with your Application for Advance Parole, call South Florida Immigration Laywer Sean D. Hummel at (954) 385-3111