Advance Parole, Explained

Updated on 03/19/2023

While you are in certain nonimmigrant status in the United States or your green card application is still pending with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you might find that you need to leave the United States for some important reason. But you might be wondering if leaving the country could ruin your chances of getting a green card. The way to travel outside the U.S. and be readmitted upon return is called Advance Parole. To avoid having your application end up in the denial pile, it is important to learn as much as possible on what should go into your application.

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1. What Advance Parole means?

Advance Parole is an authorization granted to a qualified foreign national, so that they may temporarily travel outside the United States and then be readmitted to the country upon their return. The laws regarding Advance Parole are contained in sections 103(a) and 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as well as section 402(4) of the Homeland Security Act.

2. Why do you need Advance Parole?

For aliens who is applying for green card

Traveling outside the United States while an I-485 green card adjustment of status application is still pending requires Advance Parole in advance. Leaving the United States without an Advance Parole document, while an adjustment of status application is pending, could be deemed by the USCIS as an abandonment of the application. The exception to this rule is that green card applicants who have valid H-1/H-4/L-1/L-2/K-3/K-4/V-1/V-2 visa and are not in removal proceeding can travel abroad without AP.

Therefore, it can be prudent to apply for Advance Parole at the same time as applying for adjustment of status. That way those who need to travel abroad before they receive their green card may receive their Advance Parole card fairly soon.

For aliens without a nonimmigrant visa

Due to various reasons, some aliens don’t have a valid nonimmigrant visa or could not obtain a nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. consulate. Getting an Advance Parole could enable them return to the United States without the necessity of obtaining a nonimmigrant visa.

3. Who is eligible for Advance Parole?

Generally, the following aliens are eligible for Advance Parole:

However, if you have any one of situations below, you are not eligible for Advance Parole:

Not sure if you are eligible for Advance Parole based on Form I-485? You can free check eligibility through without providing any personal information. When you are ready, we may guide you the application process from the beginning to the end. Learn more, or get started today.

4. Is it safe to travel with Advance Parole?

Tricky thing is that USCIS’s issuance of an Advance Parole does NOT guarantee your entry into the United States upon your return. The border officer of CBP can deny your admission to the United States at the port-of-entry. Nevertheless, the refusal of entry by the CBP is very rare.

Moreover, before you leave the United States, if you have been out of status for more than 180 days since your 18th birthday, your departure will trigger the 3-year or 10-year inadmissible bar. Any aliens cannot be granted a green card if they have inadmissibility ground unless a wavier is granted by USCIS. Frustrating thing is that it is very difficult to have a grant of wavier. As such, under such circumstance it is advisable not to travel abroad even if you have an Advance Parole.

Keep in mind that an Advance Parole document must be valid when you return to the United States while it is only valid for 1 year after it is issued. So it is important to be mindful about the length of the planned trip abroad.

You may always consult an immigration attorney to give you professional opinion before planning your trip.

5. How to apply for Advance Parole?

To apply for Advance Parole, applicants must complete Form I-131, Application for Travel Document and submit the form with supporting documents and filing fee (if applicable) to USCIS. Be careful when you fill out the form I-131 because this form is used to apply for several types of travel documents, AP is just one of them. Many applicants get confused about it.

If your current Advance Parolee will expire within 180 days, you can file a new I-131 application to get a new one as long as you still meet the eligibility requirements.

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6. Advance Parole processing times

The Advance Parole processing times is about 12-18 months. But it varies due to USCIS’s workload. You may check the processing times for I-131applcations through USCIS’s online tool. If your application is behind the “Receipt date for a case inquiry”, you may submit a case inquiry online to push USCIS to process it as early as possible.

7. How to get Advance Parole in an emergency?

Expedited Processing for Advance Parole

If you have submitted an I-131 application, you can ask for expedited processing by providing convincing evidence to prove your emergency situation. You should call USCIS at 800-375-5283 to make such request. When calling, please say “infopass appointment”, and then you will be connected to a live representative. Unfortunately, the USCIS considers such requests on a case-by-case basis, so asking for expedited processing does not mean that quick consideration will definitely happen.

Emergency Advance Parole

In emergency circumstances, or when there is potentially severe hardship, aliens may need their Advance Parole travel document immediately, no matter whether they have submitted an I-131 application or not. But the USCIS is extremely judicious about issuing emergency Advance Parole. They only grant these documents to those who have provided compelling evidence that the circumstances are so dire that an emergency Advance Parole is warranted.

Generally, aliens who require emergency Advance Parole need to schedule a local USCIS office appointment by calling 800-375-5283. They need to bring a complete I-131 form, filing fee and all necessary evidence to the appointment. The local USCIS officer will issue an emergency Advance Parole on the same day if the officer is satisfied with the compelling evidence.

If you need more information about how to apply for an emergency Advance Parole, you may schedule a consultation with a skilled immigration attorney at an affordable price!

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