|Many people ask questions about how long they may remain abroad using advance parole while they are applying for adjustment of status. There are no bright line tests that provide specific answers. Let’s review what we know about advance parole and adjustment of status to see if we can find some answer.First, with a single exception, anyone who leaves the United States without an advance parole document in their hand when they leave is deemed to automatically abandon their adjustment of status application as of the moment of their departure. This rule is explicitly set forth in the regulations. You must no only apply for advance parole (AP) before you leave, but it must be granted and you must take it with you.
The single exception is for people who hold H1B, H4, or L visas. If they have valid visas and valid unexpired petitions, they may continue to travel using their H or L visas without abandoning their adjustment of status (AOS) applications. Technically, the way the law is phrased, such a traveler must have a valid visa before leaving the US. Practically speaking, someone who does not have a valid H or L visa (and does not have advance parole) and travel abroad to obtain a visa is engaging in very high risk behavior. If the visa is denied, they will have no way to return to the US and their AOS will be deemed abandoned.
We also know that an AOS applicant with approved AP may remain outside the US for an indefinite period of time provided they return to the US before their AP document expires. Applicants must be careful when reading the AP documents. The expiration date of the document is the one printed on the form, not the stamp put there by a CBP officer later. Such stamps reference the expiration date of the grant of advance parole after the person enters the US.
As an aside, no one has quite figured out why CBP issues one year grants of advance parole. In reality, the grant is indefinite. There is no way to extend a one year grant, other than leaving the country and returning. On the other hand, there is no penalty imposed for failing to extend a one year grant. In the past, such grants were for the duration of AOS processing. CBP has never explained why it ceased this practice and began giving useless one year grants.
Within the one year granted by present AP documents, there is no maximum limit imposed on trips abroad. As long as you return within the validity period of the AP document, you may remain abroad as long as you wish. Confusion enters the picture when we consider sequential grants of advance parole.
Clearly, there is no issue with someone remaining abroad until the last day of validity of their current advance parole document, then returning to the US and applying for a new document. When the new document is approved, they then go abroad again and remain abroad until the end of the validity period for that document. They then repeat this process until their AOS is approved.
Considering this second example, we find that there is no prohibition on a person who has already been granted AP filing for an extension of advance parole while abroad. The applicant should not count on the new AP application being approved before the current one expires and should make plans to return to the US before the expiration of the current document. This procedure may be used to shorten the waiting time in the US between the expiration of the current AP document and the issuance of the new AP document.
What about cases where the applicant submits an AP extension while abroad and the approval arrives before the current document expires? This is uncharted territory. Personally, I would not want to try to return to the US after an absence that was longer than my original grant of advance parole.
Courtesy – Global Immigration Partners, Inc.