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Articles of Interest

Jun 30, 2014

Work Authorization and Advance Parole to Travel Abroad

Category: Immigration Articles

Work Authorization

You may apply for employment authorization from the USCIS while awaiting adjudication of your application for lawful permanent residence through Adjustment of Status. While it is not an automatic right, it is routinely granted by USCIS offices throughout the country.

If you already have employment authorization incident to your nonimmigrant visa (e.g. as a H1-B visa holder), you may still apply for additional employment authorization just in case your current non-immigrant visa expires before your USCIS interview. The work authorization is usually granted in one-year increments.


Advance Parole to Travel Abroad

After you file your adjustment of status application, you MAY NOTleave the United States without first obtaining permission from the Department of Homeland Security to re-enter the country. The DHS will consider anyone who departs from the United States without permission to have abandoned his application for lawful permanent residence.

As a practical matter, you should simply plan not to leave the United States after filing your application with the USCIS unless absolutely necessary. It is important to keep in mind that anyone who has spent more than 180 days unlawfully present in the United States after April 1, 1997, MUST NOT LEAVE the United States before the USCIS adjudicates his adjustment of status application. A departure from the U.S. by a person subject to this unlawful presence law will trigger three or ten years bars to admissibility, which could lead to denial of the adjustment of status application and refusal of entry into the United States.

If you feel that you must travel abroad, the only way to do so without abandoning your adjustment application is to apply to the DHS for “advance parole.” This is actually a request for the DHS to give you permission, in advance of your departure, to re-enter the United States. For many years, the INS rarely granted advance parole to adjustment applicants unless they could demonstrate a compelling need. In recent years, the USCIS has become much more generous and grants it for “any bona fide business or personal reason.” However, the type of evidence required by USCIS offices throughout the country varies. It is also best for you to consult with an attorney before you submit a request for advance parole.