In a policy shift, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has reportedly been denying advance parole applications of applicants who travel outside the U.S. during the pendency of their application.

H and L visa holders whose green card applications are pending typically apply for advance parole as a secondary travel document allowing re-entry to the U.S., particularly by those whose visas are nearing expiration. Under previous policy, advance parole was routinely granted to H and L holders who traveled during the pendency of their advance parole applications.

Key points:

  • H and L visa holders whose permanent residency applications are pending should anticipate having to plan further in advance in making international travel plans.
  • Obtaining an advance parole document takes approximately three to four months at a minimum.
  • An alternative to waiting for an advance parole document before travel is to plan to obtain a new H or L visa stamp before returning from international travel.

Background: The policy likely derives from instructions for the advance parole form (I-131), which says if the applicant departs the U.S. before an advance parole document is issued, the advance parole application will be considered abandoned.

BAL Analysis: Employees holding H or L visas should plan several months in advance before traveling abroad and are advised either to wait for an approval of their advance parole document before they embark on international travel or plan to obtain a new H or L visa stamp at a U.S. consulate during their trip.