When people who don’t have permanent resident status in the U.S. need to travel abroad, obtaining advance parole will be crucial to ensuring that they are able to re-enter the U.S. with minimal hassle.

However, because many people don’t apply for advance parole often – and because the process of obtaining advance parole can be complicated and obtuse we will answers some frequently asked questions about advance parole.

Keep in mind that the information provided in this blog series is general in nature and that you can easily obtain more specific info about advance parole (or any immigration issue with which you are dealing) by contacting the an immigration law firm.

Answers to Some Common Questions about Advance Parole…

Q: What is advance parole?

A: Advance parole is a specific type of immigration document that can effectively permit someone to come back to the U.S. (after traveling abroad) when they don’t have a visa. In general, when a person who doesn’t have a valid visa leaves the U.S. to travel internationally, that individual will NOT be allowed to come back into the U.S. unless (s)he has a valid visa when trying to re-enter the country.

However, if that individual applies for and is granted advance parole before his travels, then (s)he will not have to worry about having a visa when (s)he is ready to come back to the U.S.

Q: When would I need an advance parole?

A: People who want to travel internationally will typically benefit from applying for advance parole if they:

  • Are waiting for their applications to adjust their immigration statuses to be processed
  • Have been granted refugee status or asylum by the USCIS or have applications for asylum currently pending with USCIS
  • Have received Temporary Protected Status
  • Have been granted benefits under the Family Unity Program.

Q: Why should someone apply for advance parole? What are the benefits?

A: In general, the following are the benefits of obtaining advance parole:

  1. People who want to travel internationally do not have to worry about getting a visa before leaving or trying to come back into the U.S.
  2. People’s adjustment of status applications will be preserved with USCIS.

Q: Should I apply for advance parole if I have an H-1B visa and have already filed an I-485 Form?

A: You will likely not need to file for advance parole if you possess an H-1B visa and have submitted your I-485 Form as long as your H-1B visa is valid when you depart from the U.S.

Here, it’s important to point out that, if you do end up obtaining an advance parole when you have an active H-1B visa and have already submitted your I-485 Form, you can apply to have your H-1B status extended or transferred when you return to the U.S. in order to get your immigration status changed from “parolee.”

Q: What if I have an H-1B visa, my I-485 Form is pending but I may not be able to get an H-1B visa when returning to the U.S. – should I apply for advance parole?

A: Yes, applying for advance parole in this case will be the smartest idea to ensure that you are able to re-enter the U.S. when you are finished with your travels abroad. While it’s usually best to try to reapply for the H-1B visa first when you are ready to return to the U.S., if this application is not approved, your advance parole prevent any delays or further complications in your re-entry.

Q: What would make someone ineligible for advance parole?

A: Not everyone will be eligible to be approved for advance parole. In fact, some of the specific factors that can make a person ineligible to receive an advance parole include (but are not necessarily limited to):

  • Not having a valid immigration status in the U.S.  (i.e., being in the U.S. illegally)
  • Being in possession of some other type of valid refugee travel document or re-entry documentation (unless people with such documentation have submitted it to USCIS officials or have sufficiently proven that these documents have been irretrievably lost)
  • Being the subject of removal or deportation proceedings.

Q: If advance parole is granted, is a person guaranteed entrance into the U.S.?

A: Not necessarily. While having an advance approval can reduce potential problems for people re-entering the U.S. when they don’t have a valid visa, these people will still have to go through the standard inspections at a U.S. port of entry.

Consequently, they could be denied re-entry at a U.S. port of entry – even if they have an approved advance parole – if they don’t end up passing or clearing the inspection.

Q: How do I apply for advance parole?

A: According to USCIS, to apply for advance parole, people have to:

  • File a Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, with USCIS
  • Provide all necessary and requested supporting documentation
  • Provide photos of themselves (as specified in the Form I-131)
  • Pay the required fees.

Because the application process can be complicated – and because one misstep along the way can result in a significant delay or even denial of an advance parole, it’s advised that people seeking this type of document contact the Los Angeles immigration lawyers at the Hanlon Law Group for the best chances of obtaining advance parole with minimal complications and costs.

Los Angeles, California Immigration Lawyers at the Hanlon Law Group, P.C.

At the Hanlon Law Group, P.C., our Los Angeles immigration attorneys have more than 15 years of experience successfully representing clients in various types of immigration cases, including those that involve the most basic immigration applications to those associated with extremely complicated federal court litigation.

To learn more about our citizenship, immigration and deportation defense services contact our Los Angeles immigration attorneys today by calling (626) 765-4641 or (866) 489-7612 or by emailing us using the form at the upper right-hand side of the screen. From our office in Pasadena, we serve clients throughout the Los Angeles area, across the state of California and from around the world.

We offer free, confidential initial consultations to provide potential clients with expert advice regarding their immigration law needs. Additionally, we are able to provide immigration legal services in various languages, including in Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Bahasa Indonesian, Tagalog and Fukienese.