According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), immigrants can travel abroad while awaiting their Green Card or Permanent Resident Card as it is officially known. However, there is an application and interview process that must be completed before traveling. All immigrants traveling outside the United States will need to obtain an Advance Parole to re-enter the country after their travels, this also allows for continuation of processing for an adjustment status to that of a lawful permanent United States citizen.
In a press release Director of the USCIS, Eduardo Aguirre, said, “I want America’s immigrant population to know before they go. These requirements must be met before leaving and are imperative for return to the U.S. This reminder is consistent with our commitment to world-class customer service and enhancing the integrity of our immigration system.”
If you are in the process of adjusting your status to permanent U.S. resident, traveling outside of the U.S. without advance parole may have severe consequences on your immigration status. You may be unable to return to the United States and your applications may be denied.
To obtain an Advance Parole, you must complete Form I-131 –Application for Travel Document. The application may be filled out online and special instructions are on the website. Be prepared to pay a filing fee of $305, but if you meet certain criteria the fee can be waived. On the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website there is all the information you need to apply and obtain your advance parole.
Note that on the USCIS instructions for the I-131, you will see the following information requirements that must be attached to your application:
- A copy of any document issued to you by the USCIS showing your present status in the United States; and
- An explanation or other evidence showing the circumstances that warrant issuance of an Advanced Parole Document; or
- If you are an applicant of status, a copy of a USCIS receipt as evidence that you filed the adjustment application; or
- If you are traveling to Canada to apply for an immigration visa, a copy of the U.S. consular appointment letter; or
- If you are the surviving spouse of a U.S. citizen who died before the second anniversary of your marriage, (or included in your parent’s deferred action grant letter), you must file Form I-131 with a copy of the order notice, or document placing you in deferred action. If you are a qualified child and you are requesting advance parole, you must submit a separate application.
When traveling outside the United States it is highly recommended that you get travel insurance, should anything unforeseen happen while you are out of the country. Accidents happen and medical costs can be covered by medical travel insurance. Your documentation might not come in time, and you’ve already purchased airline tickets and put a deposit on your hotel, with trip cancellation insurance coverage will help cover possible financial loss.