USCIS has started denying Form I-131 advance parole applications where the applicant has traveled abroad during the pendency of the application. USCIS is denying the pending Form I-131 application even if the applicant has a separate valid advance parole document or a valid H or L visa to return to the United States while his or her I-485 application is pending. In the denial notification, USCIS points to the Form I-131 instructions at page 6 where it states that “[i]f you depart the United States before the advance parole document is issued, your application for an advance parole document will be considered abandoned.”
This shift in policy contravenes USCIS’s prior longstanding policy, which allowed an applicant for advanced parole to travel abroad while the application was pending, as long as the individual had other valid means of being readmitted to the United States.
Our recommendations regarding international travel for individuals with pending adjustment of status applications:
- Ryan Swanson’s Immigration Group strongly recommends that foreign nationals with pending green card (adjustment of status) applications avoid international travel unless they have a valid H or L visa, or a currently valid advance parole document.
- If you travel outside the U.S. while your advance parole application is pending, even if you have a valid H or L visa or advance parole document (such as an EAD/AP card), your advance parole application may be denied, in which case you would need to apply for a new advance parole document upon your return to the U.S. Advance parole applications take approximately 90-120 days to process.
We do not anticipate that a pending adjustment of status application will be deemed abandoned and denied by USCIS as long as the applicant has a valid H, L or K visa and/or currently valid advance parole document. However, in order to avoid abandoning a pending advance parole application, we advise all applicants for adjustment of status to remain in the U.S. until the application is approved. Please contact your immigration attorney at Ryan Swanson prior to any international travel while your adjustment of status application is pending.
If you have questions about this new policy and its impact on your case, please contact one of the immigration attorneys at Ryan Swanson for assistance.
Janet Cheetham, Joel Paget, Amy Royalty and Marsha Mavunkel are attorneys in the Immigration Group at Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC.
This message has been released by the Immigration Group at Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC to advise of recent developments in the law. Because each situation is different, this information is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any specific facts and circumstances. Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC is a full-service law firm located in Seattle, Washington.