A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

I-131 Travel Document Denied Due to International Travel

If you have an advance parole travel document application pending, do not leave the United States.   USCIS is denying pending Forms I-131 for abandonment if the applicant travels internationally.  

Generally, when a person applies for adjustment of status, he or she is not allowed to depart from the U.S. without first obtaining an advance parole travel document.  Such departure is considered an abandonment of the I-485 adjustment application.  

However, there are some exceptions to this general rule.  If a person is possession of certain visas such as H-1B, L-1 or K visas, the person is allowed to travel on these visas without an approved an advance parole application.  

Recently, USCIS has been denying Form I-131 advance parole applications for abandonment in instances where the applicant has traveled abroad while the I-130 application was still pending. The pending Form I-131 application is being denied even if the applicant has a separate valid advance parole document or a valid H, K, L, or V visa to return to the United States. 

In the denial notification, USCIS points to the Form I-131 instructions which state that if the applicant departs the United States before the Advance Parole Document is issued, the application for an Advance Parole Document will be considered abandoned. In the past, USCIS has approved advance parole renewal applications for individuals who travel abroad during the pendency of the application with a valid Advance Parole Document or a valid H, K, L, or V visa.  Nevertheless, USCIS management has confirmed that the current policy is to deny such applications. 

This policy may cause some inconvenience but it can be avoided with careful timing of travel plans. Further, applicants may wish to consider submitting a new Form I-131 application to USCIS if a pending application is denied, as well as avoiding international travel during the pendency of the advance parole application. 

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