USCIS Denies Pending Forms I-131 for Abandonment Due to International Travel

We are given to understand 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. In the denial notification, USCIS points to the Form I-131 instructions at page 6 where it states 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.” In the past, USCIS has approved advance parole renewal applications for individuals who travel abroad during the pendancy of the application with a valid Advance Parole Document or a valid H, K, L, or V visa.

Efforts are being made to contact the USCIS Service Center Operations Directorate (SCOPS) to determine if this change of policy was intentional. SCOPS recently responded that the denials were proper; the policy is that traveling internationally while an application for advance parole is pending will result in the denial of that application notwithstanding prior practice to the contrary.

In the meantime, it appears that advance parole applications will continue to be denied if an individual travels abroad while the application is pending with USCIS. Please note that for adjustment applications filed after July 30th, 2007, there is no additional fee to file a new application for advance parole following the denial of an application. Applicants may wish to consider submitting a new Form I-131 application to USCIS if a pending application is denied, as well as avoiding international travel during the pendency of the advance parole application.

***THIS INFORMATION IS PROVIDED COURTESY OF AILA – of which David Nachman, Esq., one of the Managing Attorney at NPZ Law Group, is an AILA Mentor, a Former State of New Jersey AILA Chapter Chair and a present Member of an AILA National and NJ Chapter Committee.