Advance Parole enables green card applicants to freely travel in and out of the United States with pending applications. Advance Parole gives you the chance to visit family members abroad, go on international business trips, or just travel for fun.
What is Advance Parole?
Traveling in and out of the U.S. is sometimes not possible if you have a pending green card application. In most circumstances, if you leave the U.S. while your green card is pending, your green card application will be considered “abandoned” and you’ll need to restart the entire process once back in the U.S. You avoid these troubles by applying for a reentry permit or advance parole before you leave the U.S.
However, it can be challenging to wait in the U.S. when green cards can sometimes take over a year to be approved. Thankfully, Advance Parole enables green card applicants to freely travel in and out of the U.S. with pending applications. Advance Parole gives you the chance to visit family members abroad, go on international business trips, or just travel for fun.
What is Form I-131?
Form I131 can be filed to apply for advance parole, a travel document, or a refugee travel document. Sometimes foreign nationals file Form I-131 alongside their adjustment of status (green card) application, whereas others file it only when they have booked specific travel plans.
Visas that allow you to travel with a pending green card without needing an Advance Parole document
There is no need to apply for Advance Parole if you have a dual intent visa such as an H-1B, L, K3/4, or if you are a dependent of one of these visa holders.
Who needs Advance Parole?
Anyone who is in the U.S. and does not hold a dual intent visa (see above) but would like to travel internationally while their green card application is being processed will need to apply for Advance Parole. This can include temporary workers who have filed an immigrant visa and I-485, dependent visa holders, individuals with a pending asylum application, or individuals under temporary protected status.
Primary applicants as well as dependents (spouses and unmarried children under 21) both will need to file their own Advance Parole applications to be able to travel in and out of the country while their adjustment of status is pending.
How do you apply for Advance Parole?
To obtain Advance Parole, you must mail a completed Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, and the applicable filing fee to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
To get Advanced Parole as quickly as possible, you should file Form I-131 with your Form I-485 (green card application). You can also file it after filing Form I-485, but you will need to wait for your I-485 receipt notice.
You can only travel with Advanced Parole once your application is approved. You can see estimated processing times for I-131 applications (and any other USCIS applications) on USCIS’s website to get an idea of how long you’ll have to wait for an approval after filing the application.
What documents do you need to include in an Advance Parole application?
In addition to Form I-131, you will need to mail USICS the following documents for your Advance Parole application:
- If you are applying for Advance Parole after your green card has been filed: your I-485 receipt notice
- Two identical photos that meet the U.S. passport photo requirements
- Documentation of your current immigration status (such as Form I-767)
- A scan of your passport photo page
- If you are the spouse of the primary applicant: the marriage certificate
- If you are the child of the primary applicant: the birth certificate
- Filing fee
Can Advance Parole be expedited for an emergency?
Depending on your situation, it may be possible to apply for expedited processing. To do so, you’ll need to set up an emergency Advance Parole appointment at your local USCIS field office by contacting USCIS. When you go to the appointment, you should bring the completed and signed I-131 application, the I-131 filing fee, two-passport style photos, and evidence supporting your emergency request, which should fit in one of the following categories:
- Suffering a severe financial loss to your company or person
- Emergencies and urgent humanitarian reasons
- A nonprofit organization is requesting an expedited application for you to travel for reasons related to the cultural or social interests of the U.S.
- A U.S. government entity is making an expedite request for you
- USCIS made an administrative error
Are there any risks to be aware of while traveling with Advance Parole?
Advance Parole allows you to travel without your green card application being considered abandoned, however, you should still be aware of some potential risks.
First, you will need to be present in the U.S. to attend a biometrics appointment and interview appointment for your green card. Missing these appointments could result in your green card being abandoned. USCIS will notify you of when these appointments are scheduled in advance, and it is possible to request a change of appointment date if needed.
You should also keep in mind that Advance Parole does not guarantee re-entry into the U.S. There is always a chance you could be denied entry into the U.S. if you lack the proper documentation or are found inadmissible for some reason. For instance, if you do not have valid immigration status in the U.S., you will not be able to travel to the United States, even if you have advance parole.
In addition to applying for an Advance Parole travel document to travel while your green card is pending, you can also apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which allows you to work for any U.S. company. Advance Parole and EAD make the sometimes lengthy path to permanent residence in the U.S. a little easier.
If you are early in your green card process and are exploring different green card paths, it might be worth reaching out to our team of immigration attorneys to talk about your specific situation.