This guide contains information on advance parole and what to expect before, during, and after traveling abroad.
In December of 2020, a federal court ordered the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to begin accepting advance parole applications again. You can read the full order here.
*The July 16, 2021 order from the Southern District of Texas does not affect advance parole for current DACA recipients. If that should change, USCIS will provide updated information.
Advance parole is a procedure by which certain noncitizens receive permission to reenter the U.S. after temporarily traveling abroad. This is a process that is part of the government’s broader authority to parole (or allow someone into the U.S.) based on their discretion.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues an advance parole travel document to travelers before they depart the U.S. While these travelers may use this document to travel back to the U.S., entry to the U.S. is dependent upon the discretion of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at a port of entry.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is an office within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), adjudicates applications for advance parole.
Advance parole is an option for certain noncitizens within the U.S. This includes recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), recipients of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and most applicants who have already applied for a green card. In this guide, we will discuss advance parole for DACA recipients.
Yes. USCIS is accepting and adjudicating applications for advance parole for current DACA recipients. Please note that applicants cannot file their DACA renewal applications and advance parole applications at the same time.
The following chart suggests some forms of evidence that can help applicants with DACA demonstrate their valid purpose for traveling abroad on advance parole.
Make a copy of all documents on your application to keep a set with you, and leave one with someone you trust, such as an attorney or family member. Be sure to travel with all of your original documents for re-entry into the U.S.
You can submit your complete Form I-131 and supporting documents to USCIS by mail. You can find out the specific direct filing address to use by visiting the USCIS website and clicking on the “Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” subheading.
If you are experiencing an extremely urgent situation, you may request an emergency advance parole appointment at your local field office through the USCIS Contact Center, under in-person services (call 800-375-5283). This type of appointment is sometimes referred to as an InfoPass appointment. You must tell the representative on the phone that you are seeking an appointment for “emergency advance parole.” The representative will schedule a call back and you must keep your phone by you to receive the call.
Bring to your appointment all the documents listed under the “How do I apply for advance parole?” section in this guide. Emergency advance parole requests are typically granted or denied at the time of the InfoPass appointment.
If you are not traveling for emergency reasons, it is recommended that you submit your application more than six months before your desired date of travel. Processing times are unpredictable and vary.
The advance parole document authorizes parole, but the decision to parole (or allow someone to physically enter the U.S.) is up to the discretion of a CBP officer at a port of entry. That could be either at the border or an airport. Certain circumstances may heighten the risk of being denied entry. It is important to consider the risks and be prepared for any potential situations that may arise.
Risk Factors to Consider:
If any of these apply to you or you are not sure, always consult with an immigration attorney prior to traveling or applying for advance parole.
When you return to the United States, you will go through Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspection where you will be questioned by a CBP officer. Carry the original copies of the documents listed below, as well as a copy of your advance parole application. Ensure you are prepared for any questions from CBP and aware of your rights.
Returning to the U.S. by Air. If you enter through a U.S. airport, you will pass through the U.S. Immigration and Customs. You will be processed in the “Visitor” or “Resident” line, and you can ask an officer once you’re there if you are not sure. It is likely that a Customs and Border Protection officer will escort you to a separate room for secondary screening. There, a CBP officer may ask additional questions, check your belongings (including electronics), and finish processing your re-entry.
Returning to the U.S. by Land. If you travel to the United States by land (such as by car over the U.S.-Canada border or U.S.-Mexico border), you will have to present your advance parole and supporting documents. They may ask you to park your vehicle and step inside the inspection building to complete the U.S. admission process.
In either case, whether you enter the U.S. via air or land, be sure that you have all of your original documents ready with you for processing and any questions from CBP. Keep in mind that this process can take up to several hours.
What to consider before reentry:
A CBP officer will ask questions about your trip abroad when you are re-entering the U.S., such as:
If you have any prior tickets or arrests (even those that didn’t result in convictions), CBP might question you about the circumstances of those incidents. CBP may also question you about your immigration history, including when and how you initially entered the U.S.
After processing, they will hand you back your original forms of identification and a stamped copy of your advance parole document or a stamp in your passport. This is evidence that you complied with the terms of your advance parole. Be sure to keep this proof of re-entry as you will need it to renew your DACA and it will be useful to you in future immigration processes.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. imposed a ban on flights from several countries and later required proof of vaccination and negative COVID tests. These rules have changed periodically during the pandemic.
Before traveling, check the CDC’s Travelers Prohibited from Entry to the United States frequently for changing rules and requirements.
Additionally, as of December 2, 2021 there is a requirement that travelers have viral tests within one day of reentering the U.S. This could be problematic if an individual’s test is positive and they are unable to travel into the U.S. during the time that is authorized in the advance parole document. For the latest information on the requirements for proof of a negative COVID-19 test result or vaccination record, visit the CDC’s Required Testing before Air Travel to the US page.
For more information on the COVID-19 requirements in the U.S. and other countries, visit the CDC’s International Travel for U.S. Citizens, U.S. Nationals, Lawful Permanent Residents, and Immigrants page.
No. USCIS does not refund fees, regardless of any action they take on your application.
No. Your employment authorization document (EAD), or DACA, must be valid and unexpired at the time that you submit your application for I-131 Travel Document, or Advance Parole. It is suggested that you apply for advance parole after your DACA renewal request has been approved.
No. DACA recipients can only travel for educational, employment, and humanitarian purposes. Emergency advance parole documents are also granted on a case-by-case basis.
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