Advance Parole is a term used in immigration law, which refers to an immigration document issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This document allows certain aliens, who do not possess a valid immigrant visa, to re-enter the U.S. after traveling abroad. Advance parole is essential because, without it, an alien (a person who is not a U.S. citizen or U.S. national) may not be able to return to the U.S. if they leave.
Non-immigrants are individuals who enter the U.S. for a temporary period for a specific purpose, such as tourism, business, study, or temporary work. They are generally expected to leave the U.S. after their authorized stay period is over. However, if a non-immigrant, like a student or a temporary worker, wishes to travel abroad while their adjustment of status application is pending, they may require Advance Parole to ensure they can return to the U.S.
Not all non-immigrant statuses require Advance Parole. It’s best to consult with an immigration attorney to understand your specific circumstances.
What Is Advance Parole?
In a more detailed sense, Advance Parole is an advance authorization for non-U.S. citizens who do not have a valid immigrant visa to enter the U.S. after traveling abroad. It’s particularly important for individuals whose adjustment of status applications to become permanent residents (green card holders) are pending. These individuals must obtain Advance Parole before leaving the U.S. to ensure they can return.
If an individual with a pending adjustment of status application leaves the U.S. without obtaining Advance Parole, their application may be considered abandoned and subsequently denied. USCIS treats departure from the U.S. as an applicant’s intent to abandon the application. So, Advance Parole provides a way to leave and return to the U.S. without affecting pending applications for immigration.
However, obtaining Advance Parole does not guarantee re-entry into the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) retains the right to inspect everyone seeking admission and can deny entry if they find grounds for inadmissibility.
Again, it is always recommended to consult with an immigration attorney to understand how these regulations may apply to one’s unique situation.
When Should I Apply for Advance Parole?
The best time to apply for Advance Parole is when an individual who does not have a valid immigrant visa anticipates that they will need to travel internationally while their adjustment of status application is pending. Generally, this is done concurrently with the filing of the adjustment of status application (Form I-485).
Application Options for Different Visa Paths
- H-1B Visas: H-1B visa holders typically do not need Advance Parole. This is a dual-intent visa, which allows the visa holder to apply for a Green Card while working in the U.S. If an H-1B visa holder has a valid visa or can obtain a new one while abroad, they can generally travel without Advance Parole.
- L-1 Visas: Similar to H-1B, L-1 is also a dual-intent visa category. L-1 visa holders can typically travel internationally and re-enter the U.S. without Advance Parole, provided they maintain a valid L-1 visa.
- V Visas: The V visa allows families to stay together while waiting for the processing of immigrant visas. Those with V visas will likely need to obtain Advance Parole if they wish to travel abroad and return to the U.S. while an adjustment of status application is pending.
- K Visas: K visas, or fiancé(e) visas, allow the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen to travel to the U.S. for marriage. If the K visa holder is in the U.S. and has applied to adjust status to a permanent resident (Form I-485), they need to apply for Advance Parole before leaving the U.S.
What Is the Processing Time for Advance Parole?
Several factors can influence the processing time for Advance Parole, the primary one being the volume of applications that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has to handle at a given time. The more applications there are in the queue, the longer it may take for each individual application to be processed.
On average, it typically takes around 90 days, or about three months, to process an Advance Parole document from the date of receipt. This period, however, can be shorter or longer depending on the current workload of the USCIS.
While the application is pending, USCIS may request additional evidence to support the application. Such requests can also extend the processing time, as the application will be paused until USCIS receives the requested evidence.
Consider this processing time when planning any international travel. Ideally, you would want to apply for Advance Parole well in advance of your planned departure date. This is to ensure that you have received the document before your travel date to avoid any disruptions to your plans or potential issues upon your return.
You should avoid leaving the U.S. while the Advance Parole application is still pending, as doing so may lead to the abandonment of your adjustment of status application.
Finally, it’s wise to check the most current processing times on the USCIS website or with a legal professional, as these can change based on a variety of factors, including changes in immigration policies and procedures.
Can I Speed Up Advanced Parole?
There’s no guaranteed way to speed up the processing time for Advance Parole. USCIS processes applications in the order they are received. However, in certain situations, such as a severe financial loss, urgent humanitarian reasons, or emergency situations, an individual can make an expedited request to USCIS, and it will be granted at their discretion.
These requests are not taken lightly and should be reserved for truly urgent situations. Documentation to prove the urgency may also be required.
What Are the Disadvantages of Using Advanced Parole?
While Advance Parole provides benefits for certain aliens, it also comes with certain potential disadvantages. They include:
- Uncertainty of Re-entry: Even with an Advance Parole document, re-entry into the U.S. is not guaranteed. Immigration officials at the point of entry have the discretion to admit or deny entry to anyone based on their assessment of admissibility.
- Possible Visa Complications: If you have a valid non-immigrant visa and apply for Advance Parole, you might encounter complications when applying for a renewal of your non-immigrant visa. Some consular offices view the application for Advance Parole as a demonstration of immigrant intent, which can cause issues for certain non-immigrant visas that require non-immigrant intent.
- Processing Times: The processing time for Advance Parole can be long, generally taking several months. This may hinder or limit your ability to travel internationally on short notice.
- Abandonment Risk: If you leave the U.S. while your Advance Parole application is pending, USCIS may consider your adjustment of status application abandoned, leading to potential legal complications.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Given the complexities and potential risks involved with Advance Parole and immigration law in general, consulting with an immigration lawyer is highly recommended. A lawyer can provide advice tailored to your specific circumstances, ensuring you make informed decisions that align with your best interests.
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