USCIS is adopting a new approach for international travel and Form I-131 Advance Parole (AP) applications.

Until recently, USCIS has approved AP applications even where the beneficiary travelled internationally during the pendency of the application. This was the case even though the I-131 application states, “If you depart the United States before the Advance Parole Document is issued, your application for an Advance Parole Document will be considered abandoned.”

Now, USCIS has started basing its denial of AP applications on applicants’ travel during the pendency of those applications, thus considering them abandoned. It has done so even when beneficiaries are travelling on valid and unexpired AP documents or on valid H, K, L, or V nonimmigrant visas.

In most cases, concurrent EAD (Employment Authorization Documents) and AP applications can be filed up to 180 days in advance of their expiration dates. These may take more than 90 days after filing to adjudicate. Individuals who are planning to travel during the holidays at the end of this year and seeking to renew AP documents should keep the new restrictions in mind and plan their travel accordingly.