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Advance Parole and How it May Help DACA and TPS Recipients

What is Advance Parole and what are the Benefits?

Advance parole allows some immigrants who originally entered the U.S. without documents to travel out of the country and receive advance permission to legally re-enter the U.S. This is great benefit to immigrants who have an immediate relative that has filed or will be filing an immigrant visa petition on their behalf. Pursuant to U.S. immigration laws a U.S. immediate relative is:

  • A U.S. citizen son or daughter who is at least 21 years of age,
  • A U.S. citizen spouse, or
  • A U.S. citizen parent.

Immigrants who originally entered without documents and have an immigrant visa immediately available to them normally do not qualify to obtain their green card in the U.S. Some immigrants in this situation must request a waiver for having remaining in the U.S. unlawfully. And, to finalize the green card process the immigrant must leave the U.S. and attend an appointment at the consulate in their home country. Some immigrants, such as a parent of a U.S. citizen don’t even qualify for a waiver until they have remained outside the U.S. for a period of 3-10 years (depending on how long they remained in the U.S. without documents).

The benefit of returning to the U.S. with Advance Parole, is that the immigrant’s previous entry without documents will no longer disqualify him or her from obtaining a green card in the U.S. Also, an immigrant’s previous periods of unlawful presence will also not disqualify an immigrant from obtaining a green. Another advantage is that the immigrant will not need to file a waiver to forgive periods of unlawful presence.

To apply for Advance Parole, an applicant must file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document with the required supporting documents and the correct filing fee.

Advance parole is available for several types of immigrants, however this article will mainly focus on those immigrants who have a U.S. citizen immediate relative and are currently under:

  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, or
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

Advance Parole Eligibility for DACA Recipients

DACA recipients can apply for Advance Parole for the following valid reasons as outlined by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):

  1. Educational: participating in semester abroad programs or academic research,
  2. Employment: out of country assignments, interviews, conferences, training, or meetings, or
  3. Humanitarian: to obtain medical treatment, attend funeral/memorial services for a family member, or visit a family member who is in poor health.

Travel outside the U.S. for recreational or vacation purposes is not an acceptable reason for requesting Advance Parole. Also, the DACA applicant must ensure that their DACA application or renewal has been approved prior to filing their application for Advance Parole. Those who receive an approval of their Advance Parole Application should make certain that they comply with the dates of travel and the reasons for travel listed in the application. Upon returning to the U.S. the immigrant will likely be interviewed by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer. The officer has the right to deny entry for failure to comply with the Advance Parole approval. Our office recommends that when the immigrant is returning to the U.S. they bring with them proof of the purpose of their travel.

Advance Parole Eligibility for TPS Recipients

When a country suffers from internal conflicts or natural disasters, foreign nationals from some of these countries who are currently living in the U.S. are provided temporary protection from being removed from the U.S. The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, decides whether to grant TPS for periods of 6 to 18 months. TPS status for certain countries can be extended if problems persist in that country. However, there is no guarantee that extensions will be granted.

Immigrants with TPS status who want to apply for Advance Parole must also fill out Form I-131 and submit the application along with supporting documents and the filing fee. TPS applicants can request Advance Parole for reasons not related to education, employment or humanitarian reasons. In fact TPS applicants, can request Advance Parole to go on vacation. Similarly to Advance Parole for a DACA recipient, a TPS recipient must also fully comply with the requirements outlined in the Advance Parole application and approval.

Tips and Pitfalls to Watch Out For

Immigrants who re-enter the U.S. with Advanced Parole must be aware that they could be denied admission due to other factors not relating to a previous unlawful entry to the U.S. or periods of unlawful presence in the U.S. A CBP officer can deny entry due to other immigration violations such as:

  • Providing untruthful information to an immigration officer or on immigration applications in the past,
  • Criminal convictions or even arrests that did not result in a conviction,
  • Multiple unlawful entries to the U.S.
  • Helping family members or other individuals enter the U.S. without documents.

Don’t Jeopardize your Immigration Status

When applying for Advance Parole and subsequently for a green card, it is imperative that all forms be filled out accurately and completely, Failure to submit completed forms with the requisite supporting documents can result in lengthy delays and negative consequences to your immigration status. If you need to travel out of the U.S. due to an emergency, contact our office immediately so that we can prepare an approvable expedited Advance Parole application.

Our office can also assist you with determining whether applying for Advance Parole is the best course of action depending on the facts of your case. If you have had encounters with immigration officials or law enforcement in the past, we can also assist you with obtaining relevant immigration and criminal records. Keep in mind that an Advance Parole authorization document does not guarantee that you will be granted re-entry to the U.S. As discussed above, upon presenting yourself for re-entry a CBP officer will ask questions relating to your travel and immigration history, Our office will also prepare you on how to clearly and truthfully respond to the CPB’s officer’s potential questions.

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