Travel outside of the United States may have severe consequences if you are in the process of adjusting your status. In case of an emergency, you should know what documents you need to reenter the country BEFORE you leave the United States.
It is important to understand ahead of time whether or not your departure from the U.S. could negatively impact your application for immigration status. A person who is not a U.S. citizen is subject to immigration review each time the person seeks admission to the U.S., even if he or she has already been admitted as a permanent resident.
In general, if you are seeking immigrant status (a green card) and travel outside of the U.S. without the appropriate documentation (i.e. advance parole) you may be inadmissible to the U.S. upon return, or even if admitted, you may be found to have abandoned your application.
If you are admitted as a nonimmigrant and have applied to extend the period of authorized nonimmigrant stay or have applied to change to a different status, you will automatically abandon the application if you leave the U.S. before USCIS makes a decision on your application. Receipt of an advance parole document is not enough to prevent abandonment of your change of status or extension of stay application. If your current status has expired, you are likely to be denied admission.
Expediting an Application
USCIS will expedite an application, including an application for a travel document, Form I-131, in certain situations:
- Severe financial loss to company or person;
- Emergency situations;
- Humanitarian reasons;
- Nonprofit organization whose request is in furtherance of U.S. interests;
- Department of Defense or National Interest Situation;
- USCIS error; or
- Compelling interest of USCIS.
Business trips, weddings, holiday parties, and other planned events are usually not considered emergency situations.
Emergency Advance Parole Documents
When requesting emergency advance parole, you will need:
- Completed and signed Form I-131, Application for Travel Document;
- I-131 filing fee;
- Evidence to support the emergency request; and
- Two passport style photos.
You must apply for the travel documentation BEFORE leaving the United States. Usually, biometrics must also be completed at an Application Support Center (ASC) prior to departure. Your local USCIS office may accept an emergency advance parole application if you are experiencing an extremely urgent situation.
If you are a foreign national living in the U.S. and have questions regarding travel authorization, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!