Pending I-485 And Leaving The US Without Advanced Parole
Thinking about leaving the U.S. while your adjustment of status is pending? It’s not as simple as you may think. Without Advanced Parole (AP), you run the risk of being denied entry back into the United States.
To apply for Advanced Parole, you need to use form I-131, Application for Travel Document.
This 5 page form allows you to apply for permission to leave the U.S. and reenter. So, what happens if you need to leave the U.S. without receiving advanced parole?
Simply put: you will not be able to reenter the U.S.
I’ve seen a few cases where someone leaves the U.S. without first applying for advanced parole and were then forced to reapply for a visa. This not only means additional costs for the application but more time spent separated from your family.
Rosalia left Mexico and entered the U.S. on a K1 visa to marry her American fiance Tommy. After 3 weeks of marriage, Rosalia found out that her mother was gravely ill. She desperately wanted to spend the little time her mother had left on this earth by her side. She decides to cross the border into Mexico before she adjusted her status or applied for advanced parole.
Rosalia was able to enter Mexico without issue but when she attempted to get back into the U.S., she was promptly denied. Her husband Tommy must now apply for a CR1 spouse visa by filing form I-130 and waiting another year for approval.
In the case described above, Rosalia should have applied for advanced parole (I-131) with her adjustment of status application (I-485). But this is easier said than done because this was a family emergency. I probably would have done the same thing myself if it were my mother in the hospital.
What Is Advanced Parole And Who Is Eligible?
Advanced parole is a document that USCIS issues to immigrants that have a pending green card application. The advanced parole process takes about 90 days to approve but in an emergency, this is too long to wait.
Who Is Eligible for Advanced Parole:
- If you have adjustment of status pending (I-485);
- If you have been admitted as a refugee or have been granted asylum;
- If you were granted benefits under the Family Unity Program;
- If you were granted Temporary Protected Status; or
- If you have an asylum application pending.
Who Is Not Eligible for Advanced Parole:
- If you have no legal status in the U.S.;
- If you are an exchange alien subject to foreign residence requirement;
- If you have a previously issued re-entry permit or refugee travel document which is still valid;
- Unless returned to USCIS or it was lost
- If you are the beneficiary of a private bill; or
- If you are under removal proceedings.
The most common situation is when a K1 visa holder immediately leaves the U.S. without adjusting status. This is always a bad idea because you don’t have permanent residence in the U.S. until you apply for adjustment of status.
The K1 visa doesn’t allow for multiple reentries. Try to remember this before deciding to leave the U.S. before you get your green card.
How To Expedite Advanced Parole Processing
In most cases, advanced parole is approved in about 90 days. This may be too long for those of you who need to travel for emergency reasons. Luckily, USCIS allows exceptions in these situations.
Not everyone who applies for expedite will receive it. It’s actually harder than it sounds and you’ll be required to submit supporting evidence on the reason for expedite. If you can provide this evidence that you need to travel outside the U.S. due to an emergency, you will likely get approved in a few weeks.
Reasons For Expediting Advanced Parole:
- Severe financial loss to you;
- Emergency situations;
- Humanitarian reasons;
- Request from a Nonprofit (cultural and social interests of the US);
- Department of Defense or National Interest Situation;
- USCIS error; or
- Compelling interest of USCIS.
You can submit an expedite request by contacting the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283, or by submitting a written request and supporting documentation with your application.
How To File For Advanced Parole:
- A completed and signed Form I-131, Application for Travel Document;
- The correct I-131 filing fee;
- No fee if applying with I-485
- $575.00 is applying for I-131 alone
- $135.00* for refugees older than 16
- $105.00* for refugees younger than 16
- Evidence to support the emergency request (e.g. medical documentation, death certificate);
- Two passport-style photos.’
The filing fee can be waived for those of you who cannot afford it. You’ll need to prove financial hardship by providing bank statements, paystubs and tax returns. Learn more about form I-912 fee waiver.
*Biometrics fee of $85.00 must also be paid.
Leaving U.S. While I-485 Pending With No Advanced Parole
Leaving the country can cause serious immigration problems if you choose to leave with a pending I-485 application. Why? Because as soon as you leave the country, USCIS will assume you have abandoned the green card application.
They will deny the pending I-485 even if you have provided evidence of your eligibility.
Edward entered the country on a K1 nonimmigrant visa from England. Soon after he married his fiancee, they applied for adjustment of status. After waiting 6 weeks, Edward and his new wife had to travel back to Britain for his best friend’s wedding. When they tried to enter the U.S. 2 weeks later, Edward was denied entry.
Edward had to take a flight back to England and figure out what to do. They consulate an immigration attorney who then tells them they must file for a spouse visa so that he can reenter the U.S..
In this case, Edward chose to not wait for the Advanced Parole to be approved fearing he would miss his friend’s wedding. This one decision would cost him thousands of dollars and a year of his life apart from his wife.
Traveling With Advanced Parole and Reentering The U.S.
Once you have the advanced parole document in your hands, you are free to leave the U.S.. The actual letter you receive is called I-512L, Authorization for Parole of an Alien Into the United States.
This document will include basic information you’ve provided on form I-131 as well as you photograph. Bring this document with you when you travel outside the U.S. and make sure to keep it safe. It’s your only ticket back into the country after you leave.
There is an expiration date on this authorization form that is good for about 6 months. Don’t try to travel for more than this period of time and risk the authorization expiring. If you do this then you must apply for a visa to enter the U.S. again.
What Should You Take With You When Traveling?
- Original Advance Parole Document (form I-512L)
- This is the document that authorizes you to leave and come back into the U.S. You can’t take photocopies so make sure to take the original with you.
- Copy of I-797 Notice of Action confirming I-485 was accepted
- When you first applied for the I-485 adjustment of status, you’ll receive NOA1 from USCIS informing them that your I-485 is pending. This can be used to show you are applying for a green card when you try to enter the U.S. again.
- Return before Advance Parole expires
- Make sure to leave plenty of time to enter the U.S. before the expiration of advanced parole.
Final Thoughts On Leaving US Without Advanced Parole
I understand that emergency situations come up in life which can’t be planned ahead. But, if you can wait the 90 days for advanced parole to be processed it will definitely make life easier for you. You certainly don’t want to jeopardize all the time and money spent getting you to America to throw it all away so quickly.
In the case of an emergency, you can request an expedite that may speed up processing of the travel document. Best case scenario would be to apply as soon as you know you will be traveling outside the U.S. and include as much evidence of the emergency situation that you can.
If you are forced to leave the country before applying for advanced parole, you will likely need to apply for a visa again. There isn’t a way around this other than getting lucky and having Customs and Border Protect (CBP) allow you in without a visa.
Even if you are allowed entry, you may run into some trouble when adjusting your status (form I-485). Remember, leaving the U.S. before you have a valid status can risk denial at the border.