2019 Tips for Travel Abroad: USCIS Form I-131 – Advance Parole –Travel Document and Reentry Permit

If you have a pending adjustment of status case and plan to travel abroad, you may need to file USCIS Form I-131 to obtain permission to travel abroad (i.e. advance parole) in order to avoid having your adjustment application deemed abandoned. You may file an advance parole application concurrently with your adjustment of status application or at any time while your application is processing. The last thing you want is to have your application considered abandoned because you were out of the country without advance parole approval.

Advance parole is just one of the purposes of USCIS Form I-131. In fact, itis used for multiple of reasons to do with travel. For example, a refugee travel document for those who have been granted asylum by the United States who can no longer obtain a passport from the country in which the were persecuted.

Another purpose of Form I-131 is to obtain a reentry permit. This is generally for permanent residents who need or expect to be aboard for more than one year but less than two years. In such circumstances this can establish the person’s intent not to abandon their permanent resident status during an extensive period abroad.

Caution: While may USCIS may approve your I-131 application, the agency does NOT guarantee re-entry into the U.S. This may seem peculiar, but it is none the less a fact you need to consider carefully before traveling abroad from the U.S. Among the many reasons you may be denied reentering the U.S. is if you overstayed your visa prior to filing for adjustment and advance parole or if you become inadmissible after you obtain immigration status. 

Recent changes by USCIS apply somewhat stricter conditions for this document. If you must travel you should make sure you have an approved I-131 application along with other documentation for reentry. It used to be that you could travel with a pending I-131 document but now, it is best not to travel abroad before this document is approved. 

If you need to travel due to an emergency, you can go to a local USCIS office to ask for emergency permission to travel abroad. If the officer reviewing your request is convinced that your need truly is urgent you may get it approved on the spot.

But again, to be clear, the approval of an I-131 application does not guarantee admittance back into the United States. As such, it is highly recommended to obtain competent legal advice before filing Form I-131 and certainly before traveling abroad.

For this and other tips, please contact the U.S. Immigration Team to review your travel plans and how they might impact you.