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FAQ / LIGHTHOUSE ARTICLES:

(#81-06/16/98)

Travel Abroad during pending AOS


US Immigration Question:

My husband sponsored me for a green card and I am currently applying for adjustment of status in Los Angeles. I was informed that if I leave the United States before I get my green card, I need special permission. What is this permission? What if I do not get permission?


Answer:

If you have an adjustment of status application for a green card interview in Los Angeles and you seek to travel internationally for business or personal reasons (such as honeymoon or visiting relatives), you must apply for an receive "advance parole" before you depart. Failure to get advance parole will result in the abandonment of your adjustment of status application. More important, you will probably be forced to remain outside of the United States until you can schedule a green card interview in Japan. This could take several months.

If you have been in the United States illegally for more than 180 days before you applied for adjustment of status, you should seek legal advice before applying for advance parole. The "3-year/10-year bar" could be triggered if you depart the United States before you receive your green card.

The site for processing advance parole for aliens with family-based adjustment of status applications is at the Federal Building located at 300 North Los Angeles Street, Room 2024, Los Angeles, California 90012. Routine processing will eventually occur by mail. Unfortunately, at this time the INS has not set up a P.O. Box for this type of application. Therefore, it is best to submit the application in person in room 2024.

Processing time is expected to take 10 days, but is currently taking approximately 30 day. There is also an expedited procedure for deaths of close relatives or medical emergencies. Proof of the death or emergency is required at the time of applying.

The INS will send you the necessary forms by mail. Call 1-800-870-3676 and ask for Form I- 131.

Given the processing delays it is a good idea to apply for advance parole as soon as you have evidence that you have a pending adjustment of status application whether or not you plan to use the document. The advance parole will be issued for multiple trips during a 1-year period. If the first advance parole expires and you do not have your green card, it is easy to renew it for an additional year.

People who apply for adjustment of status through law offices can apply for advance parole the same day the adjustment of status application is submitted since attorneys have a special window that will issue a receipt the same day. If you apply for adjustment of status by yourself by mail you will need to wait until the INS sends you a receipt. This could take 2 to 3 months.

 

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