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I-131 Advance Parole for Green Card Applicants

The I-131 Application for Travel Document is a USCIS form that can be used to apply for several travel-related documents, including Reentry Permits, Refugee Travel Documents, TPS Travel Authorizations, and Advance Parole Travel Documents.

This blog discusses Advance Parole for Adjustment of Status (Green Card) applicants who currently reside in the U.S. and wish to travel abroad while their application is pending. If you have any questions regarding any of the other usages of this form, please get in touch with us at:

Who needs Advance Parole?

For green card applicants who reside in the U.S., traveling abroad without Advance Parole while their application is still pending can result in abandoning their Green Card Application. If you travel without AP, USCIS can deem your Green Card Application abandoned and close your case. This means you will need to re-apply, which can be time-consuming and expensive. The Advance Parole allows you to travel without applying for another visa or nullifying your pending Green Card application.

When to Apply for Advance Parole?

The most common, efficient, and least expensive way is to file the I-131 concurrently with your I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status (Green Card Application). However, if you did not file the request with your Green Card Application, you can still file it later without an additional fee. You should include a copy of the pending I-485 Receipt Notice you received from USCIS.

How to Apply for Advance Parole?

To apply for advance parole, you will need to fill out USCIS's Form I-131 Application for Travel Document. This form is used for different types of applications and travel-related requests. Thus, make sure to follow the form's instructions carefully. You will also need to include a passport-style photo of yourself.

If you are traveling with other family members with pending Green Card Applications, file a separate request for each one.

Where to Apply for Advance Parole?

Unfortunately, online filing is still unavailable for I-131 Application for Travel Document. Thus you will need to mail the request to USCIS. The mailing address depends on the stage of the filing. You can find out using this USCIS directory:

Processing Time and Expedite Processing Requests

The processing time of the AP request may vary and, in some cases, take many months. In some cases, you may ask USCIS to expedite the adjudication of your request. USCIS considers all expedited requests on a case-by-case basis.

USCIS will consider an expedited request if it meets one or more of the following criteria or circumstances:

  • Severe financial loss to a company or a person.

  • Emergencies and urgent humanitarian reasons. Examples may include but are not limited to illness, disability, extreme living conditions, death in the family, or a critical need to travel to obtain medical treatment in a limited amount of time.

  • A nonprofit organization (as designated by the Internal Revenue Service) whose request furthers the cultural or social interests of the United States.

  • U.S. government interests (such cases identified as urgent by federal agencies).

Not every case that fits in one of these categories will result in expedited processing. USCIS has discretion whether or not to grant.

What is the validity period of the Advance Parole?

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has the authority to grant Advance Parole Documents. The AP is typically granted before the individual departs from the United States. USCIS approves advance parole for a period of one year. The recipient must return to the United States before its expiration.

Returning to the U.S. with Advance Parole?

Upon return to the U.S., a parolee will be inspected by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), deciding whether to "parole" the person back into the United States. CBP can find the person inadmissible at that inspection and deny the reentry. Even with an Advance Parole document, CBP still has the discretion to deny your entry. In the past, this was a problem for people who had been unlawfully present in the U.S. for 180 days or more, and it remains a problem for anyone who is inadmissible for some other reason.

If you think you might be inadmissible, please consult an immigration attorney.

For more information, we invite you to contact us.

*This article has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, may not be current, and is subject to change. Readers should contact their attorneys to obtain advice concerning any particular legal matter.

© Copyright 2023 by Revital Shavit Immigration law


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