Advance Parole Travel Document Q & A

This is general information which applies to both the traditional paper AP document and the new Combo Card, however some of the information within these FAQs solely relates to the traditional paper AP document. If after review of this information specific questions or concerns arise, please be sure to contact your LAC attorney, well in advance of making international travel plans.

What is a “Combo Card”?

Adjustment of Status applicants who have filed a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and Form I-131, Application for Advance Parole Travel Document at the same time may receive both permits on a single “Combo Card”. This card will provide an individual with U.S. work authorization and will allow re-entry to the U.S. after foreign travel.

The traditional paper AP documents will continue to be valid and are issued when an individual is not eligible for a Combo Card.

May I travel abroad while my AP application is pending?

No. Departure from the U.S. while an AP application is pending will result in the abandonment and denial of the application.  This is a recent trend in AP adjudications.

Will using an AP document delay my entry into the U.S.?

Travelers using an advance parole document to enter the U.S. may be taken into secondary inspection where an officer will confirm that s/he has an adjustment of status application pending. The secondary inspection process can be lengthy and travelers should allow at least two hours for the process to be completed.

What is the validity period of an AP document and does USCIS issue only one?

The traditional paper Advance Parole document (Form I-512L) is typically valid for one year from the date of issuance by the USCIS.  The AP documents are issued in duplicate (sometimes in triplicate) and are typically valid for multiple entries during the one year validity period.  Although our office requests that the Advance Parole document be issued for multiple entries, please review your Advance Parole document to determine if it has been issued by USCIS for a single entry or for multiple entries[1].  You may find this information on the AP document itself in the section titled “PAROLE” (i.e. “This authorization is valid for multiple applications for parole into the United States during the validity period noted above.”).  Please note that the USCIS sometimes erroneously issues original AP documents in triplicate. The third original AP document does not need to be returned to the USCIS.  Therefore, if the USCIS issues an AP in triplicate for a foreign national, we will provide the third original AP document for the individual’s use.

[1] If an individual applies at a USCIS Field or District Office for an Advance Parole for emergency travel, the USCIS may issue the Advance Parole document for a very limited period of time for a single entry.

What if my Advance Parole Document contains errors in my biographical information?

Upon your receipt of the AP document (either the traditional paper document or the Combo Card) from our office, please review the document very carefully to ensure that your biographical information is correct. If any biographical information is incorrect (with the exception of the U.S. address), please notify our office immediately as the AP document may not be valid for reentry to the U.S.  Please note that the traditional paper AP documents will typically be issued with our office name and address in the U.S. address section.  This is because we include our address on the AP application form to ensure that the AP document is mailed to our office for our review and to update your case file before sending to you for your use.  The use of our address in this section is not an issue and does not prevent you from using the AP document to reenter the U.S.

How do I use the AP document?

Individuals holding a valid Combo Card will present the card to the CBP Officer for admission to the U.S.

Those using a paper AP document, for the first trip outside the U.S., the individual must bring the original AP documents in duplicate. Upon reentry into the U.S., the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) Officer will stamp both traditional paper AP documents and retain one AP document for CBP records.  The admission stamps on the traditional paper AP documents will bear an expiration date one year from the date of entry.  Note that this date is not relevant for status purposes or AP document validity purposes; the expiration date of the AP remains the date printed on the top of the AP document. The CBP Officer must return the other stamped traditional paper AP document to the individual for subsequent travel; the individual may continue to present this AP document for reentry into the United States during the validity of the AP document.  

In order to maintain the adjustment of status application, reentry to the U.S. must be completed prior to this AP document expiration date.

Will I be issued a new I-94 when I re-enter the U.S. using an AP document?

Yes. When you reenter the U.S. pursuant to a valid AP document you will be issued a new I-94 card in either paper or electronic format.  If entering the U.S. through an air or sea port, you will be provided with an annotated stamp in your passport and you will be directed to download a copy of your I-94 at http://www.cbp.gov/i94. If you are entering the U.S. via a land port of entry, you will continue to be issued a paper I-94 card. You will be paroled into the U.S. for a period of up to one year. Thus, your I-94 card will only be valid for a period not to exceed one year from the date of your entry into the U.S.  Note that this I-94 expiration date is not relevant for status purposes or AP document validity purposes.  Please see the next section regarding maintenance of status while an adjustment of status application is pending with the USCIS.

May an individual in H-1B, L-1A, or L-1B status resume such status after using an AP to re-enter the U.S.?

Under current USCIS guidance, individuals maintaining H-1B, L-1A or L-1B status who travel outside the U.S. and reenter using valid AP documents may resume such status assuming that status remains valid.

Those using an EAD for employment are not considered to be maintaining their nonimmigrant visa status and must use an AP for travel.

May dependents in H-4 or L-2 status resume such status after using an AP to re-enter the U.S.?

It depends. If the Principal Applicant (in H-1B, L-1A, or L-1B status) reenters the U.S. pursuant to a valid Advance Parole document, he/she will be paroled into the U.S.  Any dependent family members with pending adjustment applications who had been maintaining H-4 or L-2 status will not be permitted to reenter the U.S. with a valid H-4 or L-2 visa stamp following travel outside of the U.S.  Such dependent family members must use a valid AP for re-entry to the U.S.

Dependents using an EAD for employment are not considered to be maintaining their nonimmigrant visa status and must use an AP for travel.

If a dependent enters the U.S. pursuant to an AP document, such entry as a parolee does not affect the Principal Applicant’s ability to enter the U.S. in H-1B, L-1A or L-1B status provided that the Principal Applicant has maintained valid H or L status.

What are the pros and cons of using an AP document for travel?

The advantage of using an AP for individuals in H-1B, H-4, L-1, or L-2 is that they can use the AP in lieu of having to apply for and obtain a new visa stamp at a U.S. Consulate abroad to reenter the U.S.

The disadvantage is that those using an AP document to enter the U.S. may be taken into secondary inspection where an officer will confirm that s/he has an adjustment of status application pending. The secondary inspection process can be lengthy and travelers should allow at least two hours for the process to be completed.

How do I renew my AP document?

If you would like our assistance in renewing your AP document, you must notify this office 150 to 180 days prior to expiration.

Because our office cannot provide a reliable estimate of the processing time to receive new AP document due to the fluctuating processing times issued by USCIS, we recommend filing the AP renewal as soon as possible prior to the expiration date to avoid any interruption in your ability to travel outside the U.S. while the Adjustment of Status application is pending. Please note that USCIS has strict expedite criteria and does not normally expedite these applications without a true emergency situation.