MurthyChat FAQ: Nuances of Travel with Advance Parole

Many of our readers participate in the popular, weekly MurthyChat, one of the free online services offered by the Murthy Law Firm. They may also search past chat transcripts for answers to their own questions. The chat reflects questions that are on the minds of many of our readers. This article expounds upon two MurthyChat questions related to Advance Parole (AP).

Question 1: Can we renew an AP while we are abroad, if circumstances prevent our return to the United States?

Answer: AP Cannot be Renewed from Abroad

No. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) policy and regulations do not allow for the AP to be filed while one is outside the United States. The individual must be in the U.S. at the time of filing the application for adjustment of status (I-485), as well as at the time of filing an AP. The AP must be approved prior to the particular travel in order for it to be valid for return travel. There are no exceptions to this requirement.

If an AP approval allowing one to request reentry to the U.S. is not in hand, then the individual should not travel unless s/he has a suitable alternative for returning to the United States. Persons who are in H1B, H-4, L-1, or L-2 status at the time of departure can return in the same status with a valid visa stamp from the U.S. consulate abroad, without abandoning the I-485 application. Of course, this is only possible if the traveler continues to be eligible for the H1B, H-4, L-1 or L-2 status and has all appropriate documentation, including a valid and unexpired visa stamp in the passport, to permit his/her return to the United States.

The form used for the AP based on having an I-485 pending is used for other types of applications for travel documents. Thus, it contains references to filings that can be made from outside of the U.S. or on behalf of persons who are abroad. These do not pertain to the I-485-based AP, even though the term AP is used on the form.

Question 2: Can one travel on a current, unexpired AP while the AP renewal is still pending?

Can the new AP be mailed to India (or other country outside of the U.S.) so that one can return AFTER the original AP has expired ?

Answer: No. AP Approved After Departing U.S., However, Could be Used for Later Travel

One could travel on an unexpired AP while the renewal of the AP is pending. However, s/he would need to return to the United States prior to the expiration of the AP that was valid at the time of departure. The later AP could be used, after approval, for a separate or different trip.

One must present in the U.S. at the time of filing the AP application. Traveling on an AP that was not approved before one’s departure is not allowed. It is not required that one be physically present in the United States on the date the AP is approved, if s/he has another avenue for returning to the U.S. (such as a prior AP that has not yet expired). But, in this situation, the individual would only be able to use the second AP (approved while the foreign national was outside of the U.S.) for a later trip, occurring AFTER that particular AP was approved. There are many articles on MurthyDotCom discussing concerns related to travel, including advance parole. Some of the issues raised by the MurthyChat questions were addressed in our April 16, 2004 MurthyBulletin article, Favorable Interpretation on Advance Parole.


Travel abroad can be risky, particularly if one does not know how to check her/his documents or does not ask questions in advance. With the right documents, and some advance planning, travel abroad can be more routine for many people. Individuals with questions about advance parole or other travel-related matters can schedule a consultation with an attorney at the Murthy Law Firm for answers specific to one’s case.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.