Murthy Takes Action: NSC Agrees to Stop Denying Advance Parole Applications Based on Overseas Travel25 Aug 2017
As reported in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, USCIS Denying Advance Parole Applications Based on Overseas Travel (10.Aug.2017) the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began denying advance parole (AP) applications (form I-131), in recent months, for applicants who traveled abroad before their respective I-131s were approved. In response to this alarming recent trend, lawyers from the Murthy Law Firm communicated with the USCIS Nebraska Service Center (NSC), as well as other USCIS service centers, arguing that such AP applications should not be denied if the applicant has some other valid means, besides the pending AP, to return to the United States. Fortunately, during a recent stakeholder teleconference with the NSC, a senior level USCIS representative acknowledged receipt of the Murthy Law Firm correspondence and agreed with our arguments that such AP applications should not have been denied.
Background on AP Denials
Ordinarily, a foreign national with a pending I-485 may only use an AP document to return to the United States if the AP application is approved prior to the individual’s departure from the U.S. If the individual departs without an approved AP, or some other valid means of returning to the U.S., the pending AP application is typically denied. Historically, however, if the person had some other valid means of returning to the U.S., overseas travel generally would not impact the pending AP application. In recent months, however, the USCIS began denying AP applications, without differentiating between those individuals who already have a valid AP or qualifying visa, and those who would require approval of the pending AP to travel.
Murthy Takes Action
Once Murthy Law Firm attorneys identified this alarming trend, we contacted the NSC through appropriate legal channels. Murthy Law Firm lawyers made strong legal arguments and shared case examples with the USCIS. During the August 10, 2017 NSC stakeholder teleconference, a USCIS official confirmed that the Murthy Law Firm’s legal analysis was accurate, and agreed to stop denying these applications for applicants who had other valid means of returning to the United States.
Awaiting Updates from Other USCIS Service Centers
Although the NSC has agreed to cease the practice of denying AP applications under the circumstances discussed above, we are yet hear from the other USCIS service centers that adjudicate I-131 applications. We expect that they will follow suit, but are still awaiting confirmation.
The Murthy Law Firm will continue to monitor this situation, to verify that the NSC and other service centers do return to their longstanding practice of allowing an I-131 applicant to travel abroad and return without abandoning their pending I-131 application, as long as the individual has another qualifying means to reenter the United States. If any new developments arise, the information will be posted on MurthyDotCom.
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