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Immigration Law Blog

Friday, August 25, 2017

Client Alert: Green Card Applicants: USCIS Is Denying Pending Forms I-131 for Abandonment Due to International Travel

In a departure from previous policy, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has begun denying I-131 Applications for Advance Parole if the Applicant has departed the U.S. while the application is still pending.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) announced on August 18, 2017 that “it has received reports from members that USCIS has been denying Form I-131 advance parole applications for abandonment in instances where the applicant has traveled abroad during the pendency of the application.  The pending Form I-131 application is being denied even if the applicant has a separate valid advance parole document or a valid H, K, L, or V visa to return to the United States.”

Reports indicate the USCIS is denying these applications by stating that "[i]f you depart the United States before the Advance Parole Document is issued, your application for an Advance Parole Document will be considered abandoned."  It has long been USCIS practice that I-131 applications for applicants with a current valid advance parole document or a valid H, K, L or V visa would continue to be processed regardless of whether the individual had traveled internationally while the application is pending or were out of the U.S. at the time of adjudication.  Therefore, this new practice marks a change in USCIS policy.

Please be aware that if your or your employee's I-131 application is denied because of international travel during the pendency of the application, the denial has no impact on your existing H, K, L or V visa, or existing valid Advance Parole document.  Furthermore, there is no fee to file a new I-131 application for advance parole.


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