Can I Travel While My Green Card I-485 is Pending?
- The short answer to this question is NO!
- However, you can if also have other visa or Advanced Parole to enter the USA
- You can apply for Advance Parole using the USCIS I-131 form to re-enter the USA if you do not have any other visa
Is I-485 Automatically Abandoned If I Travel?
You can travel and your pending I485 (with or without Advance parole) will not be abandoned if you have one of these visa types to re-enter the USA:
- Work visas like H1B and its dependent H4, L-1, and its dependent L2
- K-3 spouse or a K-4 child of a US citizen
- V-1 spouse or V-2, V-3 child of a green cardholder
NOTE: Upon returning to the United States, most individuals must present
- a valid H, L, K, or V nonimmigrant visa and must continue to be otherwise admissible
- If a person does not have a valid or unexpired H, L, K, or V nonimmigrant visa, then they will need to obtain an H, L, K, or V nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. Department of State (DOS) visa issuing post
- Individuals will need a valid nonimmigrant visa, advance parole, or other travel documents to present for reentry
Who Should File I-31?
Each applicant must file a separate application for a travel document.
What is I-131, Application for Travel Document?
This form could be used to apply for:
- A re-entry permits
- Refugee travel document
- Advance parole travel document, to include parole into the U.S. for humanitarian reasons
Copy of Form I-131 could be found here. To ensure you are using the latest version of this form, visit the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov where you can obtain the latest USCIS forms and immigration-related information.
However, if you are a Legal Permanent Resident and Planning to Stay Outside the Country, you might want to consider filing I-31 for yourself. You can find a FAQ section for your situation here
Who Should Apply for Advance Parole, and What is the Best Time to Apply?
- If you are an applicant for adjustment of status (a green card), you will likely wait sometime
- During this time, it is recommended you stay in the USA so that you can appear for a biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment, your interview, and to receive any requests for evidence (RFE) you might receive from USCIS
- Nevertheless, you might need to travel abroad before you get your green card
- To plan ahead for this possibility, file Form I-131 at the same time you apply for permanent residency
- You should remain in the U.S. until your advance parole is approved and your travel document is mailed to you
- Please note that USCIS will cancel your adjustment of status application if you leave before advance parole is issued.
- Advance parole and Form I-131 are not just for adjustment of status applicants
- Persons with another status in the U.S. sometimes need advance parole and Form I-131 is also used for seeking reentry and refugee travel documents
This article focuses on advance parole for adjustment applicants only
Note: Even with an advance parole document, you can still be denied U.S. reentry at the discretion of Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
Travel with Expired H-1B
- With Pending Adjustment of Status (AOS), if you plan to return to the USA using your valid H1B, then you can safely travel without AP
- But, if your H-1B visa has expired and you do not want to attend a visa interview abroad, you may like to use advance parole to return to the USA
- In this case, H1B and H4 should get AP (I-131) approval
USCIS issues a combo card for both I-485 EAD and AP
Hence, you need to wait for this card to be approved and receive it before travel
Re-Entering USA with the Advanced Parole:
- If you plan to use advance parole to re-enter the USA, your status on I94 will be marked as “Parolee” and I94will be valid for 1 year
- You can only work for the same H1B employer with which you had an H1B approval prior to leaving the USA
- You can change your i94 status again to H1B by filing an H1B extension, Amendment, or Transfer after entering on AP
- Once H1B is approved, you will get a new I94 with the status as “H1B Admitted”
Please Note: If you decide to use EAD, you cannot return to H1B status again while staying in the USA You cannot file an H1B extension, amendment, or transfer once you have switched to I485EAD
Can I Change Back My Status to H-1B?
If you want to change your status back to H1B, you would be required to apply for H1B with consular processing and then exit and reenter the USA with a valid H1B visa stamp in your passport
What Is the Filing Fee for Each Category?
- Reentry Permit: The filing fee for a Reentry Permit is $575. A biometrics services fee of $85 is required for applicants ages 14 through 79
- Refugee Travel Document: The filing fee for a Refugee Travel Document for an applicant age 16 or older is $135. The fee for a child younger than 16 is $105. A biometrics services fee of $85 is required for applicants ages 14 through 79
- Advance Parole Document for Individuals Who Are Currently in the United States (including individuals whose cases were deferred pursuant to DACA): The filing fee for an Advance Parole Document for an individual who is currently in the United States is $575. The biometrics services fee is not required
- Advance Parole Document for Individuals Outside the United States, Including Under Family Reunification Parole Policies: The filing fee for an Advance Parole Document for an individual who is outside the United States is $575. The biometrics services fee is not required
Special Note About the Current Version of the FORM
- To ensure you are using the latest version of this form, visit the USCIS website at uscis.gov where you can obtain the latest USCIS forms and immigration-related information
- If you do not have internet access, you may order USCIS forms by calling the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283. The USCIS Contact Center provides information in English and Spanish. For TTY (deaf or hard of hearing) call: 1-800-767-1833
Can I Schedule an Appointment Online?
- You can also schedule an appointment online at www.uscis.gov. Select “Tools,” then under “Self Service Tools,” select “Appointments” and follow the screen prompts to set up your appointment
- Once you finish scheduling an appointment, the system will generate an appointment notice for you
A Checklist for an Advance Parole Document for Individuals Who are Currently in The United States:
- A copy of an official photo identity document
- Two identical passport-style photographs of yourself taken within 30 days of the filing of this application
- A copy of any document showing your current status in the United States
- Evidence that your trip is for educational, employment, or humanitarian purposes
- An explanation or other evidence showing the circumstances that warrant issuance of an advance parole document
- A copy of a USCIS receipt as evidence that you filed the adjustment application if you are an applicant for adjustment of status; and
- A copy of the U.S. consular appointment letter, if you are traveling to Canada to apply for an immigrant visa
Please be advised this list is for your information purpose only. Please let us know if you have any questions about documents, consider booking an appointment longer than 30 minutes if you are dealing with any complex legal situation(s), and need legal advice