On November 1, 2007, the USCIS published a final rule which removes the requirement that H and L nonimmigrants that have pending adjustment of status applications present an original Form I-797, Notice of Action (Receipt Notice), upon readmission to the U.S. following a trip abroad.

As a general rule, nonimmigrants who have pending adjustment of status applications must wait for the issuance of the Form I-131, Application for Travel Document (Advance Parole), to travel internationally otherwise their applications may be deemed abandoned. However, the USCIS has permitted H and L nonimmigrants to travel internationally while their adjustment of status applications are pending, without issuance of the Advance Parole, as long as they can demonstrate that they are (1) eligible for H or L nonimmigrant status, (2) returning to the U.S. to resume employment with the same employer for which they were authorized to work in H or L status, (3) in possession of a valid H or L visa, if required, and (4) in possession of an original Form I-485 Receipt Notice.

The USCIS recognizes that due to the shifting workload at the USCIS Service Centers, the USCIS often experiences difficultly in prompt issuance of receipt notices which often creates problems for H and L nonimmigrants that have travel plans. These nonimmigrants often have to choose between cancelling a trip or risk the denial of their adjustment of status applications. The USCIS also recognizes that technology has advanced such that evidence regarding the filing of adjustment of status applications, which is generally presented in the form of a receipt notice, is available to the Department of Homeland Security simply by performing a check of its computer database. Consequently, the USCIS feels that eliminating the requirement that H and L nonimmigrants carry the Form I-485 Receipt Notice is appropriate and avoids undue hardship for aliens who may need to travel outside the U.S. prior to the issuance of their receipt notices.

Under the new rules, in order to travel internationally, H or L nonimmigrants that have pending adjustment of status applications must maintain their nonimmigrant status and possess an unexpired H or L visa if they wish to travel internationally prior to issuance of the Advance Parole.

This rule applies to H and L nonimmigrants in the following categories: H-1B, H-1C, L-1A and L-1B and the dependents of H and L nonimmigrants, H-4s and L-2s. Please note, all other nonimmigrants, including E-1 and E-2 nonimmigrants, and family-based adjustment of status applicants, must continue to await the issuance of the Advance Parole before they may travel internationally.