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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

OUTRAGE OF THE DAY: ADVANCE PAROLE DOCUMENTS

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If you have an adjustment of status application pending, in order to travel outside the US you need an advance parole document in hand prior to leaving. Otherwise, you will be considered to have abandoned your green card application. It takes a good three months for USCIS to get around to issuing this document and expediting is only possible in extreme circumstances.



I can think of no good policy reason why we need this antiquated extra process in the immigrant visa processing scheme. Why not allow a person to travel on the basis of an adjustment receipt? The only argument I can think of is the usefulness of conducting biometrics  (fingerprinting and digital photos) before issuing the document. But if that is the concern, why not simply require the completion of biometrics before a person can return to the US? Just create an online system where people can check for the completion of their biometrics so that they know they can return to the US. Short of that, how about at least allowing someone to leave the US after filing the I-131 advance parole application rather than making them wait to receive it before leaving?



In any case, the advance parole system has been around and relatively unchanged for so long, people don't even know why we have it anymore other than that is reportedly extremely profitable for USCIS to adjudicate these cases.  Oh wait....

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  1. ravdog's Avatar
    "...Otherwise, you will be considered to have abandoned your green card application...".
    I would think the above is true even for those with valid H status & visa but *no* I-485 receipt notice.
    However, many believe that the law on the above is not very clear and as long as you were present while you filed the AOS application you can travel with H status without AP or AOS receipt.
    Could you shed some light on this?

    BTW, excellent blog!
  2. Irrelavent 's Avatar
    http://www.indianexpress.com/story/210512.html
  3. In Immigration Limbo's Avatar
    "It takes a good three months for USCIS to get around to issuing this document and expediting is only possible in extreme circumstances".

    Yes I am very worried about this. My father-in-law is in very poor health, and we are worried that he may pass away before we get the AP document. I hope a death in the family would be considered an "extreme circumstance" and we could get expedited. Otherwise my wife will have the choice of missing her own father's funeral, or abandoning our application for permanent residency and be forced to leave the U.S.,most likely for good, after all the time and money we've put into our effort to immigrate.

    We are wondering if they will even get them out in 3 months. Seems unlikely people who filed in July will get them in 3 months. They are still working on receipts for July 2nd filers!!
  4. john's Avatar
    greg,
    this is confusing to all. please don't let people get confused here. it is written in black and white that those on H,L are exempted from abandonment hence no need to either show receipt or AP. that needs to be underlined. The above case only applies to other than H/L''s. I agree, its another paper work.
  5. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    John - I think people who read this blog tend to see the world through the filter of being in H-1B status. Most adjustment filers are not. And you need to be maintaining H-1B status to be able to use that document instead of the advance parole. I'm not going to try and confuse people more by going in to the nuances of a relatively narrow rule that affects a portion of people in one relatively narrow group of green card holders. Remember, most of the people filing for parole are doing so in the family categories.
  6. RJ's Avatar
    Greg is right. I am a prime example. I am in valid H1 status but my visa has expired. If I travel outside I will either need to have AP or get a visa stamped from a consular post. The wait time just to get an appt. at any consulate is at best outrageous. I never understood the necessity of this doc. If raising cash is the objective one would think this can done thru other forms/means rather than adding one more redundant step to the whole process. Oh well.
  7. Abhi's Avatar
    Greg,

    Do you mean to say person on H1B if uses Advance Parole to come back to US instead of valid H1B visa on passpost loses his H1B Status?

    Kindly clarify.

    -Abhi
  8. Maccy's Avatar
    Hi Greg,

    My AOS was applied on Jul 5th(Treasurer's check issued on Jun 14th). In another 30 Days my treasurer's check will be void(check say void after 90 days). Will USCIS still en cash if 90 days have passed. I found this to be the case with many but nobody is sure how USCIS treats these checks.
  9. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Please see my comment from earlier that I'm speaking generally about advance paroles and am not getting in to the narrow rule that allows some H-1Bs to enter on the H-1B. The bulk of advance parole applicants are not eligible for this benefit. I think people on this board tend to be on H-1Bs so they see the world through that filter. But that's just a small portion of the overall immigrant pool.
  10. bobzibub's Avatar
    When fanciful, I feel like the prisoner. The new number 6.
    http://imdb.com/title/tt0061287/plotsummary
    Lots of marching bands. Creature comforts. But definitely an island far removed.
    = )
  11. Charlie's Avatar
    Greg:

    Can you clarify once and for all, if you travel without the AOS receipt and you are in H1-B status, is your application considered in abandonment?

    A yes/no answer is what we are all lookinf for.

    Thanks!!
  12. jhustju's Avatar
    "John - I think people who read this blog tend to see the world through the filter of being in H-1B status"

    Is this because most of the people reading this blog are on H-1B status. Otherwise why would they use this filter? In any case, I do think that people reading this blog are smart enough to understand a reply that includes the words "this is applicable only for people with valid H1-B stamp on their visa". Im not sure why Greg does not want to point out one exception to the general rule when the exception actually does exist in real. It is one thing to keep the blog simple, another to generalize a statement that can make thousands of people run to apply for AP when they really dont need one.

  13. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Charlie - Here is the regulation:

    "The travel outside of the United States by an applicant for adjustment of status who is not under exclusion, deportation, or removal proceeding and who is in lawful H-1 or L-1 status shall not be deemed an abandonment of the application if, upon returning to this country, the alien remains eligible for H or L status, is coming to resume employment with the same employer for whom he or she had previously been authorized to work as an H-1 or L-1 nonimmigrant, and, is in possession of a valid H or L visa (if required) and the original I-797 receipt notice for the application for adjustment of status. The travel outside of the United States by an applicant for adjustment of status who is not under exclusion, deportation, or removal proceeding and who is in lawful H-4 or L-2 status shall not be deemed an abandonment of the application if the spouse or parent of such alien through whom the H-4 or L-2 status was obtained is maintaining H-1 or L-1 status and the alien remains otherwise eligible for H-4 or L-2 status, and, the alien is in possession of a valid H-4 or L-2 visa (if required) and the original copy of the I-797 receipt notice for the application for adjustment of status. The travel outside of the United States by an applicant for adjustment of status, who is not under exclusion, deportation, or removal proceeding and who is in lawful K-3 or K-4 status shall not be deemed an abandonment of the application if, upon returning to this country, the alien is in possession of a valid K-3 or K-4 visa and remains eligible for K-3 or K-4 status."

    Since USCIS has not expressly waived this regulation's requirement to have an adjustment receipt in hand when you return, I would presume it still applies.
  14. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    "generalize a statement that can make thousands of people run to apply for AP when they really dont need one." If I tell people generally speaking they don't need an H-1B, the folks who don't read the fine print are bound to get stuck. For example, as noted in my comment below, you need to have the adjustment receipt in hand to benefit from the rule you think is so simple. And you actually need to be in H-1B status - in other words, if you are working on the basis of your EAD and have not been maintaining H-1B status, you're out of luck. I'm not everyone's personal immigration lawyer and they should consult with one before traveling. If you're relying on my blog to be a substitute for having your own immigration lawyer, you're being penny wise and pound foolish. US immigration law is more complex than any other country on the planet and while I can try and be helpful in making you all more educated consumers (like a WedMD, for example), that's no substitute for seeking professional advice rather than acting as your own lawyer.
  15. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    I belive the $545 filing fee explains why USCIS so desperately wants to know if you plan to travel while your AOS is pending.
  16. USC's Avatar
    I nominate the State Department for a place under this category. It is August 15 and they are now even unable to put out a visa bulletin in a timely manner!
  17. jhustju's Avatar
    Greg,

    Thanks for your response and the detail. I was in no manner trying to belittle your blog or the help you are providing the immigrants. It is in fact one of the sites Imake a point to visit often for up-to-date immigration information and has proven very useful. Thanks for all your efforts. I was just thinking that if many people were asking a specific question it might be useful to point out that there are, in fact, some exceptions to the blanket rule. Thanks for clearing it up.
  18. USC's Avatar
    Here is the September visa bulletin:

    http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/bulletin/bulletin_3761.html

    Not too bad!

  19. joseph's Avatar
    I am having my H1B visa extension- 4Th year now. The Visa stamped in my passport is expired. So traveeling and returning using I-131 is okey for me or i should get my new visa stamped?
  20. joseph's Avatar
    I am having my H1B visa extension- 4Th year now. The Visa stamped in my passport is expired. So traveeling and returning using I-131 is okey for me or i should get my new visa stamped?
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