For many people applying for immigration benefits, Advance Parole is necessary to travel abroad while they wait for the U.S. government to process their application. Other immigrants, like recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), must also have an approved travel permit before leaving the United States if they'd like to return. Advance Parole makes it possible for immigrants with business ties abroad to leave the United States temporarily for work. In this article, we'll explain what business reasons you can get Advance Parole for as well as the step-by-step application process for getting the travel permit.
Written by Jonathan Petts.
Written May 25, 2022
What Is Business Advance Parole?
Advance Parole is necessary for anyone who doesn’t have an immigrant visa or nonimmigrant status like a valid H-1B visa to return to the United States after leaving the country. Advance Parole is especially necessary as a re-entry permit for those applying to adjust status and gain permanent residence. If you depart without approval, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will automatically deny your application for legal permanent residency.
DACA recipients won’t be able to return to the United States without Advance Parole after going abroad. They would have to apply for a visitor visa to return, often after waiting out their re-entry bars for their unlawful presence in the United States. DACA recipients can obtain additional benefits from Advance Parole. If you are a DACA recipient with Advance Parole who successfully passes through a port of entry, you can get a green card for instance through marriage to a U.S. citizen, because you now meet the legal entry requirement.
3 Categories of Advance Parole
There are three categories of eligibility for Advance Parole: humanitarian reasons, educational reasons, or business reasons. For business travel, many different circumstances qualify. For example, your employer may require you to attend overseas work assignments. You may have to participate in a business conference or training for educational purposes. You may be required to interview for a job abroad. If any part of your job necessitates you to travel overseas, you need to get Advance Parole to return.
If USCIS approves your Advance Parole application, it will be valid for one year. Your re-entry still depends on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspection of your entry.
How To Apply for Advance Parole for Business Travel
To get an Advance Parole travel document for business travel, you will need to complete Form I-131, provide evidence of your business travel, and send your completed documents to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Step 1: Complete and Sign Form I-131
First, you need to complete Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. This form is the main Advance Parole document application. You can fill the form out online or download, print, complete, and send it to a USCIS office.
When completing the form, make sure to leave extra time for your return in case of any unforeseen travel delays. You don't want to miss your deadline for returning, which your Advance Parole approval notice displays. If you’re a DACA recipient, you could face an unlawful presence bar from re-entry for up to 10 years if you miss your deadline for returning or if CBP turns you away at the port of entry. Consider consulting a lawyer who focuses on immigration law to make sure you can safely return.
Step 2: Gather Evidence That You Have Valid Employment Reasons To Travel
Next, gather your filing fee and the supporting documents to submit. The filing fee for Form I-131 is $575. You can also qualify for a fee waiver if you have a pending adjustment of status application. You may not have to pay the full fee with a pending asylee or refugee travel document application.
You should include the following documents in your application packet:
Your receipt notice for your pending green card application after filing Form I-485, if you’re an adjustment of status applicant
Proof of relation to a family member if you are applying for Advance Parole based on their application for lawful permanent resident status
Two passport-style photographs
USCIS-issued document showing the validity of your current immigration status, such as your DACA approval notice
Photocopy of a government-issued identification document that shows your name, date of birth, and photo.
Passport, driver’s license, or Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
Evidence explaining your business reasons for traveling
Examples: a letter from your employer, a business contract, an enrollment letter from business training organizers, registration confirmation for your participation in a business conference
Step 3: Mail Your Completed Forms and Documents to USCIS
You can either submit your form online through your MyUSCIS account or by mail. If you send your documents by mail, the USCIS address will depend on where you live and what mail service you use. It is essential to send your forms to the correct address. Otherwise, USCIS may reject your documents. You will have to resubmit them and wait out the processing time again.
You can check which address to submit your application package to on the USCIS website.
Applying for Advance Parole for business travel can be complicated, but help is available. If you are eligible, our free web app will walk you through the Advance Parole process and help you prepare and file your application with the U.S. government. If our app isn’t a good fit, we may be able to refer you to an experienced immigration attorney to help. Click "Get Started" to see how we can help make your American dream come true!