USCIS Announces Change of Policy for Advance Parole Travel Document

USCIS announces change of policy for an Advance Parole travel document.

The new policy applies only to foreign nationals intending to reenter the U.S. with an advance parole (“AP”) travel document while their I-485 adjustment of status application is pending.

It will not apply to foreign nationals who plan to enter the U.S. with temporary visas such as the H-1B, L-1, E-2, F-1, J-1, O-1, R-1 visas or their dependents’ visas.

Applicants for the I-485 Adjustment of Status often apply for AP to obtain travel permission while the I-485 is pending.  Most applicants must wait 3-4 months before the AP is approved before leaving the U.S. or the application is regarded as abandoned.  This remains the same.

The new policy relates to two specific situations:

  1. Foreign employees with H and L visas are not required to obtain AP prior to leaving the U.S. after the adjustment of status application is filed. However, sometimes these foreign national who have valid H or L multiple entry visas in their passports will also apply for AP to facilitate easier travel. Pursuant to the new policy, these foreign nationals may still travel on H or L visas, but any AP applications pending at the time of such travel will be considered abandoned and denied. As a result, they will have to enter on their valid H or L visas.
  2. Persons who already have valid AP, and wish to apply for an extension, may not travel while the AP renewal applications is pending. If they do, they will abandon the pending renewal.

Previously USCIS would approve such pending AP if the overseas travel was made with the appropriate travel permission (e.g. H, L visas or existing AP).  But now foreign nationals are required to remain in the U.S. until these applications are approved to avoid abandoning pending AP.

Prior to making any future travel plans, review the options:

  • Extend the H or L status in advance and obtain the visa at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy.
  • Apply for AP early enough and be sure to remain in the U.S. while the AP application is pending.

Also be advised that any foreign national traveling into the U.S. with an AP document will be directed to an interview area known as “secondary inspection.”  Secondary inspection allows inspectors to conduct additional research in order to verify information without causing delays for other arriving passengers.  This could create a delay in travel so allow plenty of time between flight connections.

In addition, if the traveler has an AP document but will enter in H or L status, DO NOT provide the AP document to the CBP officer. Problems still may arise if CBP checks the system, sees that the traveler has AP, and decides to enter that person in AP rather than in H or L status.  In this situation be sure the CBP officer has indicated the appropriate visa status in the passport.

Contact our Immigration Team regarding travel and advance parole questions.

About the Author: Robin L.H. Vermette


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