Nonimmigrants in the United States in most statuses (including B, E, F, J, O, P, R, T, U and TN) who have filed Adjustment of Status (“AOS”) applications (I-485) are advised not to travel outside the United States until their Advance Parole applications (I-131) are approved. The I-485 application is filed concurrently with the I-131 application for Advance Parole and the I-765 application for employment authorization. It may take up to three months for USCIS to approve the I-131 and I-765 applications.
Nonimmigrants holding H or L status do not need advance parole authorization to travel outside the United States while their AOS application is pending. H and L nonimmigrants may be readmitted into the United States in the same status provided that they have a valid H or L visa or, for nonimmigrants who do not need a visa to enter, an approval notice. H and L nonimmigrants must comply with their nonimmigrant classification, which includes adhering to restrictions on periods of stay and change of employment, and not engaging in unauthorized employment. H or L nonimmigrants who violate the terms of their nonimmigrant classification will lose their valid H or L nonimmigrant status. Should the application for AOS be denied, the nonimmigrant would then be subject to removal proceedings.
In most cases, the I-131 application is approved at the same time as the I-765, and issued together on Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document. This “combo card” will have language at the bottom stating “Serves as I-512 Advance Parole,” which indicates it can be used for travel. Occasionally, the I-765 and I-131 applications are adjudicated separately, and the I-766 will state “Not valid for reentry to U.S.” at the bottom. If this happens, an I-131 approval notice (Form I-797) will be issued for travel.
If a nonimmigrant who does not hold H or L status travels outside the U.S. after the AOS application is filed and before the Advance Parole application is approved, USCIS will deny the AOS application, and a new application must be filed. An individual may not be able to file a new AOS application if he/she has not maintained valid nonimmigrant status. In this situation, an individual may be required to leave the United States and consular process at a U.S. consulate abroad for an immigrant visa.
In the case of a true emergency, such as a death or extreme illness in the family, an emergency Advance Parole may be granted by USCIS, but emergent business reasons generally are not sufficient for issuance of an emergency document.