Can you travel while waiting for a green card?
Whether or not you can travel while you are waiting for your green card (Legal Permanent Resident Status) depends on a number of factors, including but not limited to what is the basis of your “green card” request. For example, someone who is waiting for their residency through an employment-based petition, who previously had an non-immigrant work visa like an H-1B, will generally be able to apply for a travel and re-entry permit (“Advanced Parole”), at the same time as their work permit and once it is issued, they can generally travel without restriction. On the other hand, an individual who is waiting for their residency which is based on their status as an Asylee which was just granted the previous year, may have issues traveling with “Advance Parole.”
There are many other issues to be analyzed and considered, such as a person’s prior criminal record, Immigration history, the place to be traveled, the length of the trip and who will be traveling with them. Travel to someone’s home country could negatively impact a I-601 Waiver, travel without their spouse could negatively impact a Marriage Petition, and an extended period of time traveling outside the U.S. could negatively impact an Employment Petition based upon a company’s need for the employee.
Generally if you are returning to the U.S. while USCIS or EOIR (Immigration Court or BIA—Board of Immigration Appeals) completes the processing of your residency petition you must have a valid unexpired passport, a “Travel Permit” (Advanced Parole Document), a certified copy of the court record for any criminal case, and a copy of any Immigration Court Notice.
All non-citizens are subject to an examination of their fingerprints, their criminal background and security checks prior to being permitted to enter the U.S. So it is imperative that you have documentation to respond to any issues that arise.
If you leave the U.S. without an advance parole document then your Residency Petition (Form I-485) may be denied as abandoned. (See 8 CFR § 245.2(a)(2)(C)(4)(ii)(B))
Contact an Experienced Immigration Attorney Today
At FitzGerald Law Company, our legal team has extensive experience with foreign travel by individuals who have a residency petition pending with USCIS and we have a proven track record successfully helping our clients navigate the different legal options and the level of risk involved. We can help you achieve your immigration goals, whether it is to obtain a temporary visa, legal permanent residency, or to become a U.S. citizen. Immigration laws and regulations are extensive and can be confusing, so the assistance of an immigration attorney can ensure that the appropriate process is followed and can help reduce the stress and anxiety level usually associated with these processes. We are here for you and only one phone call away. To schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help, call (617)303-2600 today. We serve Boston, East Boston, Malden, Everett, Revere, Saugus, Lynn, Cambridge, Somerville, Quincy, Jamaica Plain, Brookline, Newton, Waltham, Framingham, Lowell, Lawrence and all of the surrounding communities in Massachusetts.