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Traveling While Adjustment of Status Application Is Pending

Traveling outside the U.S.

Traveling outside the United States while your adjustment of status application is pending is generally discouraged by USCIS. This is because leaving the country could be interpreted as abandoning your application. However, there are situations where traveling might be unavoidable. In such cases, you can apply for a travel permit, also known as an advance parole document, which will allow you to temporarily leave the U.S. and return to complete your green card process.

Here are some of the risks of traveling abroad while your adjustment of status application is pending:

  • Your application could be denied: USCIS may consider your departure from the U.S. as evidence that you do not intend to reside permanently in the country. This could lead to the denial of your green card application.

  • Reentry could be difficult: Even with a travel permit, reentering the U.S. might be challenging. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have the authority to deny your entry if they believe you have not maintained your eligibility for adjustment of status.

Applying for a Travel Permit

If you must travel outside the U.S. while your adjustment of status application is pending, you should apply for a travel permit well in advance of your trip. The application process typically involves filing Form I-131 with USCIS. Processing times for travel permits can take a long time, so it's important to plan ahead and submit your application early.

Traveling Within the U.S.

Unlike traveling abroad, moving around within the United States poses no complications for your adjustment of status application. You can freely visit family in other states, embark on a road trip, or explore different regions for pleasure. There's no need to worry about this domestic travel impacting your green card process.

Here are some additional tips for traveling while your adjustment of status application is pending:

  • Consult with an immigration attorney: An immigration attorney can advise you on the risks and benefits of traveling abroad in your specific situation and can help you with the application process for a travel permit.

  • Keep all of your immigration documents with you: When traveling, make sure to carry all of your immigration documents with you, including your passport, visa, I-94 arrival/departure record, and any USCIS receipt notices.

  • Be prepared to answer questions from immigration officials: CBP officials may ask you questions about your travel plans and your adjustment of status application when you re-enter the U.S. Be prepared to answer these questions honestly and thoroughly.

Traveling outside the U.S. while your green card application is pending can be risky, but it is possible in certain circumstances. By carefully considering the risks and taking the necessary steps to prepare, you can increase your chances of a smooth travel experience.


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