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Frequently Asked Question on AP

What is Advance Parole?

Advance Parole is an intermediate benefit provided to beneficiaries whose Adjustment of Status petitions are pending with USCIS. Advance parole document is valid for one year from the date of issue. Adjustment of Status applicants can avoid the continuous need for a valid visa to travel in and out of the United states using Advance Parole, while their AOS application is pending either because of severe retrogression in the applicant's country and category or because of bureaucratic delays at the USCIS such as FBI name check.

Individuals with pending applications for adjustment of status and working on EAD need to obtain an advance parole document in order to leave the United States without abandoning the pending application and to return to the United States after traveling abroad. An advance parole document is issued solely to authorize the person who travels to a U.S. port of entry to seek parole into the United States to await the adjudication of the pending application.

Whether to grant advance parole is a matter of USCIS discretion. If an alien with a pending Form I-485 requests an advance parole document, and USCIS grants it, USCIS normally issues a 1-year, multiple-use advance parole document. If the alien leaves prior to issuance of the advance parole document, his or her application for adjustment of status will be considered abandoned. There are certain exceptions to this consequence as listed below.

The following individuals, who have a pending application for adjustment of status, may depart the United States without an advance parole document and without having their adjustment-of-status application considered abandoned:

  • Individuals in H-1B (Specialty Workers) and L-1 (Intracompany Tranferee) status, and their dependents (H-4 and L-2), who maintain their status and possess valid visas;
  • Individuals in V-2/3 visa status who maintain valid V nonimmigrant status and possess a valid V visa or who will obtain a V visa before applying for readmission to the United States;
  • Individuals in K-3/4 nonimmigrant status who have maintained their status and possess a valid nonimmigrant visa or obtain a valid K-3/4 nonimmigrant visa before applying for readmission to the United States. (Note: Upon returning to the United States, you must present your valid H, L, K, or V nonimmigrant visa and continue to be eligible for that status.)
  • Refugees and asylees who have applied to adjust to permanent resident status under section 209 of the Act may travel outside the United States on a valid Refugee Travel Document and do not need to apply for an advance parole document.
  • In certain circumstances applicants for other immigration benefits, such as under NACARA, HRIFA, or Temporary Protective Status, may be able to obtain an advance parole document.

Aliens in the United States should, prior to departure, obtain an advance parole document in order to return to the United States after travel abroad if they have:

  • Filed an application for adjustment of status but have not received a decision from USCIS;
  • Hold refugee or asylee status and intend to depart temporarily to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa in Canada; or

An emergent personal or any other non-emergent bona fide reason (such as a need for business travel) to travel temporarily abroad.

USCIS will not grant an advance parole document to an alien who is in the United States if the alien is:

  • In the United States illegally;
  • An exchange alien subject to the foreign residence requirement; or
  • In exclusion, deportation, removal, or rescission proceedings.

Please note that issuance of an advance parole document does not guarantee admission into the United States. In fact, an alien who has an advance parole document will generally be paroled into the United States, rather than admitted. Aliens with advance parole documents are still subject to immigration inspection at the port of entry. A separate decision whether to parole the alien is made each time the person presents himself or herself for inspection at a port of entry with the advance parole document.

If an applicant is granted an advance parole document, but is determined upon return to the United States to be inadmissible (and parole is not appropriate), he or she will be placed in removal proceedings challenging their admissibility. However, inadmissibility due to a period of unlawful presence in the United States is not applied to people who return with advanced parole.

Docs needed for filing AP

1. Your 485 Copy (If you are dependent, then the primary applicant's 485 copy) 2. Previous copy of AP 3. Two Photos 4. Confirmation copy (If you E-Filed)

How does returning on AP affects my status?

Returning on AP makes one a parolee. This information is based on an article and is being quoted here for the people who might be affected due to this

Rule#1 Entering the U.S on a valid AP will impact the individual's H1 or L1 status. An individual who has a pending AOS application can enter the country either on H1 or L1 (previous status) without affecting the AOS petition. However if AP is used to enter the country this will terminate the individual's underlying non-immigrant status. This is because AP does not fall in any other category of admission and one is deemed as a 'Parolee' when it is used to enter the country. Your I-94 will reflect the fact that you entered the country using an AP rather than a non-immigrant visa.


There is a memo issued in Mar 2000 revised in May 2000 which states the exception to the above rule. The memo says any individual who enters the country using AP does not lose all the benefits of H1 or L1. Please find the entire memo underneath

Read full details on in the memo.

What are forms needed for Advance Parole?

Advance parole can be filed using the USCIS form I-131. AP can also be e-filed on USCIS website. How ever, required supporting documentation and photographs must be sent to the corresponding service center as mentioned on the e-file confirmation report.

Application fee is 305USD. Fee must be paid in favor of Department of Homeland security if application is filed via snail mail. Generally 2 or 3 copies of Advance parole documents are mailed to the applicant once the petition is approved.

Can you tell me step by step process of self filing of Advance Parole?

Form I-131

Instructions to fill form I-131

Sample Unofficial E-file instructions

How many times can I use Advance Parole?

There is no limit to the number of times you can enter the US on Advance Parole. It is treated as a multiple-entry document. If you have received multiple copies of the AP, you take bring them with you to the port of entry (when you return to the US from travel abroad). Usually, the CBP Officer will stamp all, keep one and return the others. This will continue till you end up with just one AP document, which will be returned to you. You can use this last copy, each time you return after subsequent visits abroad.

An I-94 is issued at this time, which will state that your entering the US as a "Parolee" and you are Adjusting Status (on AOS, essentially), and is valid for 1 year from the date of that specific entry (no relation to issue date or expiry date on AP). Of course, you can use your AP anytime before it expiry date. If the AP expires, you apply for a new AP that will be issued for one year.

I have filed Employed based 485 and I am currently out of country. Can my spouse file an AP for me and mail it to me?

No. You need to be in the US on the date the AP is filed (by you or your attorney). This is true for both first AP applications and any renewals that may follow.

I have filed Employed based 485 and I have filed an application for AP and I need to go out of country before I can get my AP. Can my spouse mail me my AP?

If I need for Advance Parole immediately in an extraordinary situation?

If you have a extraordinary or humanitarian emergency and need to go out of the country, you should mail/courier form I-131 to USCIS DC office.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Attn: Chief, International Operations Division (Humanitarian Parole) 20 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Room 3300 Washington, DC 20259

Can I apply for Advance Parole if I am out of USA?

No. You need to be in the US on the date the AP is filed (by you or your attorney). This is true for both first AP applications and any renewals that may follow. You should apply for your AP BEFORE you travel (hence the term "Advance"), if you intend using the AP to return to the US. If you have a valid H or L visa, however, you can use that to enter the US.

Any considerations?

Non immigrants on visas such as H-1B,H-4 and L1 can travel using their visas while an AOS petition is pending. If an AP petition is pending and the AOS applicant does not have a valid visa, he/she either needs to appear at a consular post and get a valid visa to re enter or receive the approved petition at his foreign location. As every single applicant might have a different situation, he/she should consult an attorney and get a legal opinion for his/her situation.

How does USCIS handle processing times for Advance Parole?

USCIS publishes the estimated processing times generally during the middle of each month for every service center,for every benefit it provides. Generally, It can take any where between 90-120 days for an Advance parole application to be adjudicated. E-filing has an advantage over paper filing in that the receipt date is the date of your e-filing. In case of a paper based filing, your paper filing date, receipt date and receipt notice date each might be a week apart. The earlier your receipt date, the more sooner you will cross the processing times for the corresponding benefit. E-filing provides an opportunity to raise a Service request with USCIS early, if your application receipt date is earlier than the current processing times.

I would like to know what others' experiences are with use of Advance Parole

At Rajiv Khanna

At Sheela Murthy

Filing AP without lawyers help

My experience with travel on AP

Further Info and Discussions

Re-entering US using AP with expired H-1b

FAQ on AP and H4 with pending AOS

1. What happens to the H4 visa when the spouse uses an AP? If the spouse uses AP, then they become a parolee. The H-4 becomes irrelevant. It can, however, be reinstated if you extend your H-1B status, and include your spouse in the renewal as well. But this is not necessary.

2. What kind of document should the H4 carry beside the AP? Passport

3. To keep the spouse in status, is it necessary to renew the AP every year?

No - a parolee by definition has *no* immigration status in the US - that's why they are called parolees. The AP only allows somebody to be paroled, but does not confer status while in the US. Once they are in the US, they are considered in "Authorized Stay" because of a pending I-485.

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