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Reported: USCIS denies applications for advance parole where applicant leaves U.S. while application pending

  1. Date Announced

    Aug. 1, 2017

    In a new policy reported by several immigration practitioners, USCIS begins denying applications for advance parole when the applicant leaves the country while the application is pending. The agency denied applications even when applicants had separate advance parole documents or non-immigrant visas permitting return to the country. This new policy is a strict application of the Form I-130 instructions, which state, “[i]f you depart the United States before the Advance Parole Document is issued, your application for an Advance Parole Document will be considered abandoned.” [ID #692]

    View Policy Document
  2. Effective Date of Change

    Aug. 1, 2017
  3. Subsequent Action

    February 8, 2019

    CIS Ombudsman conveys announcement by USCIS Director Cissna of policy reversal, returning to the prior practice by which individuals traveling with a valid advance parole while a new advance parole application is pending will not be deemed to have abandoned the new application.

    CIS Ombudsman: Tenacity and Partnership Leads to Change In Advance Parole Processing

Commentary

Although the Form I-131 instructions provide a basis for USCIS’s action, the recent denials represent a departure from USCIS’s longstanding policy of permitting applicants to exit the country without abandoning pending Form I-131 Applications for Advance Parole as long as the applicant possessed another means of re-entry. According to immigration advocates, "This represents a big adjudication shift by USCIS, which has for several years allowed certain [advance parole] applicants to travel abroad while waiting for USCIS to approve an [advance parole] application."

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