Traveling as an Immigrant Spouse
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Is It Possible to Travel as an Immigrant Spouse?
If an immigrant spouse wishes to travel outside of and return to the U.S. while their application for a permanent visa is being processed, they must file form I-131, which is known as an "Application for Travel Document." The immigrant spouse must also submit:
- Two identical photographs
- A letter explaining why they need to travel
- When they will return
- Pay a filing fee ranging from $105 - $360.
What Is Advance Parole?
Permission to leave the U.S. while a permanent visa application is being processed is referred to as "advance parole" and is only granted for legitimate personal or business reasons. For example, it may be granted in the event of a relative's death or a wedding. Reasons for travel must be documented by sources other than the applicant.
If a petition for advance parole is granted, the immigrant spouse will be given form I-512. This form will allow that individual to travel outside the U.S., and will also provide the date by which they must return. That date should coincide with the date of their adjustment of status interview. If that individual does not return by this date, they will not be admitted back into the U.S.
Are There Negative Consequences to Obtaining Advance Parole?
There could potentially be several negative consequences to obtaining advance parole. If the immigrant spouse has been in the U.S. illegally for more than 180 days at the time they filed their I-131 application, then they may not leave until it is processed.
If the immigrant spouse leaves without permission from the BCIS, then their application will be considered abandoned and they will not be allowed to return to the U.S.
Once advance parole status is obtained, the individual’s immigration status will be changed to "parolee." If they are ultimately denied permanent residency, then the immigrant spouse will have fewer remedies available as compared to their status as deportable noncitizens before they obtained advance parole.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Immigrant Spouse Concerns?
Because of the potential for consequences from a change in status, as well as the possibility one could find themselves forbidden from reentering the U.S., it is highly recommended ot seek the advice and counsel of an experienced immigration lawyer.
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Last Modified: 05-16-2014 12:03 PM PDT
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