To become a lawful permanent resident of the United States,you are required to file (amongst other things) Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. If you have gone through all the trouble of preparing and filing an application for adjustment of status in the United States, the last thing you want to do is accidentally abandon your application.
Unfortunately, far too many people do just that by traveling abroad without the proper documentation while their I-485s are still pending with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Without the proper travel authorization, an I-485 applicant’s departure from the United States constitutes an abandonment of the application in most situations. Moreover, if the applicant then attempts to return to the United States, he or she can be placed in deportation proceedings for attempting to reenter the United States without the right documents.
Thus, if you intend to travel abroad while your I-485 is pending with USCIS, it is vital that you obtain what is known as Advance Parole before you depart the United States. Advance Parole allows you to depart from and return to the United States without abandoning your I-485. However, you should keep in mind that Advance Parole does not guarantee your entry into the United States if the immigration authorities find other reasons which prevent your entry. For example, even if you have Advance Parole, you can still be found inadmissible based on certain kinds of criminal activity, excessive unlawful presence in the United, or any of the other reasons specified in section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
You may request Advance Parole by filing Form I-131 at the same time as or after filing your I-485 (so long as your I-485 remains pending). If you filed an I-485, I-131, and an application for employment authorization (I-765) all at the same time, USCIS will likely issue you a wallet-sized card which serves as both your employment authorization document (EAD) and your Advance Parole document. This is sometimes referred to as the “combo card.”
If you have an extremely urgent situation which requires you to travel abroad, you can also request Advance Parole from your local USCIS field office.
Click here to learn more about the rules, exceptions, and procedures governing Advance Parole.
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