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Travel During I-140 Process: Reentry Permits & Immigration Application

Key takeaways:.

  • The I-140 process is a crucial step in immigrating to the US, impacting travel plans and potential re-entry.
  • Travel during the I-140 process requires caution to maintain legal status and avoid abandonment of pending applications.
  • Obtaining a US reentry permit is essential for extended travel and protects permanent resident or conditional resident status.

Understanding the I-140 Process and Its Impact on Travel

Immigrating to the United States is a complex procedure, and one major milestone along the way is the I-140 process. The Form I-140, also known as the Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, is a document that U.S. employers file on behalf of foreign nationals, signifying the intent to hire them on a permanent basis. It’s crucial for those going through this process to understand how their travel plans could be affected.

Travel During the Immigration Application: What to Consider

If you’re in the midst of the I-140 process, you need to be cautious about traveling outside of the U.S. Why? Because your application could reach a stage that requires your presence in the country, or you might need to be available for additional documentation or interviews.

Can I Travel Abroad During the I-140 Process?

In short, yes, but with some caveats. If you’re a non-immigrant in the U.S. and your current status allows for travel abroad, you may do so. However, keep in mind the following points:

  • Maintaining Legal Status : Ensure that your non-immigrant status remains valid during your travels and after you return to the U.S.
  • Pending Adjustment of Status Application : If you have a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, pending alongside your I-140, leaving the country without prior permission could result in the abandonment of your application.

Image

Traveling with an Approved I-140

Once your I-140 is approved, the journey isn’t over. An approved I-140 indicates that you have an immigrant visa number waiting for you, based on your priority date and visa availability.

  • Avoiding Complications : Even with an approved I-140, you should still maintain a valid non-immigrant status. Do not assume that an approved I-140 grants you automatic reentry—follow standard reentry procedures.
  • Advance Parole : If you have a pending Adjustment of Status application (I-485), you may apply for Advance Parole, which grants you permission to re-enter the U.S. without affecting your pending case.

Acquiring U.S. Reentry Permits for Long-term Travel

If you need to be outside the U.S. for an extended period, typically more than one year, you may consider obtaining a U.S. reentry permit. This document:

  • Facilitates Reentry : Safeguards against the presumption that you’ve abandoned your permanent resident or conditional resident status.
  • Has Validity Parameters : Typically valid for two years and must be applied for while in the U.S.

Reentry permits are especially important for those who have received their green cards or intend to stay outside the U.S. for more than a year. Always apply for the reentry permit before leaving the country.

Final Thoughts

Navigating the I-140 process and understanding immigration nuances is pivotal. If you plan to travel during your immigration application, advanced preparation and knowledge of the rules are your best allies. Be mindful that changes in immigration laws and policies can occur, so it’s wise to consult with an immigration attorney or visit the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website for the most current information.

Before making travel plans, reflect on these considerations: – Keep abreast of your application’s status and any necessary presence in the U.S. – Maintain your non-immigrant status vigilantly, if applicable. – Secure the necessary permissions for re-entry to the U.S. if your travels coincide with pending applications.

Remember, careful planning and adherence to immigration protocol will ensure that your pathway towards working and living in the U.S. remains uninterrupted. Whether you’re just starting the I-140 process or awaiting your green card, your attention to these details can make all the difference in successfully achieving your American dream.

Well, folks, that’s a wrap on understanding the I-140 process and how it affects travel. Navigating immigration can be as tricky as trying to Snapchat with your grandma, but with a little know-how, you’ll be on your way to the land of opportunity. Don’t forget to check out visaverge.com for more tips, tricks, and all things immigration. Happy travels, my fellow tech enthusiasts!

FAQ’s to know:

FAQ 1: Can I travel abroad during the I-140 process?

Yes, you can travel abroad during the I-140 process if you are a non-immigrant in the U.S. and your current status allows for travel. However, there are some points to consider:

  • Maintaining Legal Status : Make sure your non-immigrant status remains valid during your travels and after you return to the U.S.
  • Pending Adjustment of Status Application : If you have a pending Form I-485 alongside your I-140, leaving the country without prior permission could lead to the abandonment of your application.

FAQ 2: Do I need to take any additional steps after my I-140 is approved?

Yes, even with an approved I-140, it is important to maintain a valid non-immigrant status. An approved I-140 does not grant automatic reentry. It is crucial to follow standard reentry procedures. If you have a pending Adjustment of Status application (I-485), you may apply for Advance Parole, which allows you to re-enter the U.S. without affecting your pending case.

FAQ 3: What is a U.S. reentry permit and why is it important?

A U.S. reentry permit is a document that facilitates your reentry into the U.S. after an extended period abroad, typically more than one year. Obtaining a reentry permit is important because it safeguards against the presumption that you have abandoned your permanent or conditional resident status. The permit is valid for two years and must be applied for while you are in the U.S. If you have received your green card or plan to stay outside the U.S. for more than a year, it is advisable to apply for a reentry permit before leaving the country.

What did you learn? Answer below to know:

  • True or False: Leaving the United States without prior permission while your I-485 application is pending alongside your I-140 could result in the abandonment of your immigration application.
  • What is the purpose of acquiring a U.S. reentry permit? a) To facilitate reentry into the United States after a short trip abroad b) To safeguard against the presumption of abandoning permanent resident or conditional resident status c) To extend the validity of a non-immigrant visa d) To expedite the I-140 approval process
  • What is the recommended course of action for maintaining legal status while traveling with an approved I-140? a) Apply for a U.S. reentry permit before leaving the country b) Assume automatic reentry is granted with an approved I-140 c) Consult with an immigration attorney for updated travel rules d) Follow standard reentry procedures and maintain a valid non-immigrant status

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Can I travel before my Form I-485 is approved?

Home » Can I travel before my Form I-485 is approved?

May 3, 2021

Advance Parole Travel Before Form I-485 Is Approved

International Travel Before Form I-485 is Approved

If your I-485 Adjustment of Status application is pending, traveling anywhere outside the United States (including brief trips to Canada or Mexico) can lead to the denial of your Form I-485. In fact, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will assume that you abandoned your application unless:

  • You are an H, L, V or K3/K4 nonimmigrant who is maintaining lawful nonimmigrant status and you return with a valid H, L, V or K3/K4 nonimmigrant visa; or
  • You obtain, before you leave the United States , an advance parole document, and you are paroled into the United States when you return.

Advance Parole

Advance parole enables an adjustment of status applicant to travel before Form I-485 is approved. Specifically, it allows you to be paroled back to the United States without applying for a visa. A transportation company (e.g. airline) can accept an advance parole document instead of a visa as proof that you are authorized to travel to the United States. An advance parole document does not replace your passport.

Equally important, the advance parole document preserves a pending adjustment of status application (Form I-485) with USCIS.

Travel Risks with Advance Parole

Having an advance parole document is not a guarantee that you will be allowed to reenter the United States. At the port of entry, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer will make the final decision about whether to allow you to reenter the United States.

Some of the reasons to contact an immigration attorney before requesting advance parole with Form I-485 include, but are not limited to, if you have ever:

  • Been arrested or convicted of a crime;
  • Been in immigration court proceedings:
  • Spent any time inside the United States in an unlawful status; or
  • Been detained or refused entry at the border.

If any of the issues mentioned above apply to your situation, please speak to your immigration attorney before traveling outside the United States.

RECOMMENDED: Advance Parole Travel for Adjustment of Status Applicants

Obtaining Advance Parole

Adjustment of Status applicants may apply for advance parole by filing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document . CitizenPath recommends that you file Form I-131 at the same time as your Form I-485. When you file them concurrently, there is no additional USCIS filing fee for Form I-131.

RECOMMENDED: Adjustment of Status Denial Due to Changes in Circumstances

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Can I Get a Work Permit While Waiting for My Green Card?

Once you get a green card, you’ll enjoy many rights and privileges as a legal resident of the United States, including the right to have a job. But it often takes a long time for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process green card applications. During this waiting period, you can’t legally work in the United States unless you have authorization. If you want to work while you’re waiting for your green card to be approved, you have to apply for a work permit using Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization. In this article, we take a closer look at work permits, including how to get one while waiting for a green card.

Jonathan Petts

Written by Jonathan Petts .  Updated February 23, 2023

What Is a Work Permit?

A work permit is also known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and serves as proof that an immigrant or foreign national has permission to legally work in the United States. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues EADs, which look a lot like a driver’s license and can also serve as a photo identification card. 

Work permits shouldn’t be confused with work visas . Work visas grant permission for someone to live and work in the U.S., but that permission is usually tied to a specific employer. Because of this, U.S. employers, rather than workers, usually apply for work visas.

In contrast, someone with a work permit can work for any employer. As long as you have a valid work permit, you can switch jobs without completing additional paperwork and still have legal permission to work in the United States. You must renew your work permit each year for it to remain valid.

Why Do I Need an Employment Authorization Document?

Even though you might have permission from the U.S. government to enter and/or stay in the country, that doesn’t automatically mean you can work here. If you want to have a job, you must first get permission, which often comes in the form of a work permit. This requirement for work authorization also applies if you’re in the middle of adjusting your immigration legal status.

Not everyone looking to work in the United States needs to have a work permit. For example, U.S. citizens don’t need to have one and neither do lawful permanent residents (LPRs) or green card holders. You also don’t need a work permit if you have an employment visa, like the H-1B . Just remember that a work visa like the H-1B is tied to a single employer.

How Do I Get a Work Permit?

You get a work permit by submitting Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization . The timing of your application depends on your green card sponsor’s status.

If you’re a relative of a U.S. citizen who is applying for a green card, you’ll apply for a work permit while applying for a green card.

If your family member has a green card instead of citizenship, you need to wait until after you’ve submitted your green card application before applying for a work permit.

Who Can Apply for a Work Permit?

Only individuals with an eligible immigrant status may receive an Employment Authorization Document or work permit. People with certain types of immigration statuses are eligible, including:

K-1 visa holders (fiancé)

F-1 visa holders (students)

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) immigrants

DACA recipients

Immigrants with pending adjustment of status applications (like a green card application)

Generally speaking, undocumented immigrants and B-1 or B-2 visa holders aren’t eligible to apply for work permits. For a more complete list of immigration statuses that can apply for work permits, please see the Form I-765 instructions .

How Do I Apply for a Work Permit?

Applying for a work permit requires you to complete and submit one application form. This process can be broken down into four steps, which we explain in more detail below.

Step 1: Prepare Form I-765

As far as USCIS forms go, Form I-765 : Application for Employment Authorization is relatively straightforward to complete. The two biggest parts of the application are explaining why you want a work permit and providing your biographical and contact information. 

You’ll also need a Social Security number (SSN) in addition to your work permit to legally work in the United States. If you don’t have an SSN, you can apply for one at the same time you apply for your work permit by checking the corresponding box on Form I-765.

Step 2: Prepare Supporting Documents

If you have not ever applied for a work permit before, you must provide all of the following:

A copy of your current immigrant visa

A copy of the photo page of your passport

A copy of your Form I-94 travel document (You can search for your most recent Form I-94 online .)

Two recent 2-by-2-inch passport-style photos of you

A copy of your receipt notice that you’ll have received when you applied for a visa (if applicable)

A copy of an additional form of identification, such as a copy of your birth certificate and photo identification card from your home country

If you’ve applied for a work permit before, you’ll also need to include a copy of any previously issued work permits.

Step 3: Pay the Filing Fee

The work permit filing fee is $410. However, the USCIS could change this amount in the future, so it’s best to check the USCIS’s online Fee Schedule for the most current information. To make a payment, you can use a personal check, cashier’s check, or money order. Check should be made payable to the “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” You can also pay the filing fee with a credit card , though you must submit an additional form.

Certain applicants, such as those requesting consideration for DACA, also need to pay the $85 biometric services fee. Finally, not every work permit applicant must pay the filing fee, and a list of these applicants can be found in the Form I-765 instructions .

Step 4: Submit Form I-765

You can file Form I-765 either online or by mail. If you’re mailing your work permit application, you’ll need to use the proper USCIS direct filing address that corresponds to your reasons for applying and the eligibility category that applies to you. If mailing your application with supporting documents and payment, it’s best to make a photocopy of everything you sent, just in case.

How Long Will It Take To Get a Work Permit?

After the USCIS receives your work permit application, they’ll need about five to seven months in processing time. Just remember that delays to wait times due to backlogs are possible.

If you want a work permit but your relative only has a green card, then you should expect the wait to be much longer. This is because you’ll need a green card number before you can apply for a work permit. Waiting for this number plus applying for a work permit can easily take more than two years.

After the USCIS receives your application, they’ll send you a receipt notice. You can usually expect this within a few weeks after you submit your work permit application. An important piece of information contained in your receipt notice is your receipt number . This consists of 13 characters, and you can use it to monitor the progress of your work permit application on the Case Status Online USCIS website .

Can I Start Working After I Get My Work Permit?

No, because you’ll also need an SSN along with your work permit to legally have a job in the United States. But as mentioned earlier, if you don’t have an SSN, you should apply for one at the same time you apply for your work permit. Once you receive your work permit and have an SSN, then you can start working.

Before you begin working, your employer will ask you to fill out Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification . To complete it, you’ll need proof that you may legally work in the United States, and your work permit and SSN will serve as that proof.

Don’t forget that if you’re earning income in the United States, you’ll have to pay taxes on those earnings. If you don’t pay your taxes, you may find it much harder to become a U.S. citizen in the future.

What Happens if I Start Working Without a Work Permit?

Negative consequences of working in the United States without proper authorization include:

Deportation

A ban on re-entering the United States for 3–10 years

Difficulty obtaining a visa or other immigration benefit or status

Even if you just work for a few hours or do so “under the table” for cash, you can still face these consequences. 

In limited situations, working without a work permit won’t cause significant problems. For instance, the USCIS often allows a small amount of unauthorized employment when considering if they should grant you a green card. But given the severe consequences possible for working without a work permit, you shouldn’t risk it. 

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Traveling Outside the U.S. as a Green Card Holder

Requirements for traveling abroad as a u.s. permanent resident.

Travel outside U.S. with a green card

In this guide

  • Can I travel outside the U.S. with a green card?
  • Required Documents
  • Applying for a Reentry Permit
  • Related Information

Yes, you can travel abroad as a green card holder — that’s one of the many benefits of being a permanent resident . However, your trip must be temporary and you cannot remain outside the United States for more than 1 year. If the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer believes you do not intend to continue living permanently in the United States, they could revoke your status as a permanent resident.

In this guide, we’ll go over which documents you’ll need and provide tips for traveling outside the United States as a permanent resident.

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When you leave.

You’ll want to be absolutely sure you have the necessary documents when leaving the country. Most green card holders will need to present the passport from the country where they’re a citizen, or in some cases, their refugee travel document.

You should also be sure to have your green card on you for the duration of the trip. And remember different countries have different requirements for entry. You may find that some countries require you to have a visa upon arrival. It’s a good idea to contact the embassy for the country you intend to visit.

Check out the U.S. Department of State’s “ Before You Go” webpage for general information on traveling abroad.

when you come back

When returning to the United States, you’ll need your green card (officially called Form I-551 , Permanent Resident Card ) and your passport. You may also present other identifying documents such as a U.S. driver’s license or a foreign national I.D. The CBP officer will look over these documents to determine whether or not you can reenter the country.

Boundless can help you obtain a green card. We make it easy to complete your green card application and avoid common problems . Learn more about what Boundless does , or start your application today .

If your trip will be longer than a year, it’s a good idea to submit Form I-131 (officially called “Application for Travel Document”) in order to apply for a reentry permit . With this permit, you can be admitted into the United States, and you won’t need to obtain a returning resident visa from the U.S. Embassy. While this document doesn’t guarantee successful admittance into the U.S., it can serve as evidence demonstrating your intent to live permanently in the United States.

It’s important to note that the reentry permit expires after 2 years. So if you think you might be out of the country for longer, you can apply for an SB-1 (officially called a “ Returning Resident Visa ”). To do this, you can go to the local U.S. Embassy or consulate. As a part of the application process, you’ll need to get a medical exam and demonstrate your eligibility to receive an immigrant visa.

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If this happens, you can file Form I-131A (officially called “Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation)”). With the carrier documentation you should be able to fly back to the United States without receiving any sort of penalty. Form I-131A may also be helpful if you’ve been away for more than 2 years and you’ve lost your reentry permit.

Traveling abroad will, in most cases, have little to no impact on your permanent resident status. That being said, your trip must be temporary, and you must have every intention of returning to the United States. If the CBP officer suspects you do not intend to live permanently in the U.S., they could revoke your status as a permanent resident. When making their decision, the officer may consider whether:

  • You’ve been gone for more than a year
  • You still have a job in the U.S.
  • You still have connections to friends and family in the United States
  • You’ve filed income taxes as a resident of the United States
  • You intended to take a temporary trip abroad
  • You’ve previously communicated your intention to continue living permanently in the United States
  • You have U.S. bank accounts
  • You own property or manage a business in the U.S.
  • You have a U.S. driver’s license
  • You have a U.S. mailing address

This list is not exhaustive. The CBP officer may consider other documentation when determining whether you truly intended to take a temporary trip abroad.

If you’re out of the country for 6 months or longer, you may have issues satisfying the continuous residency requirement. If you plan on leaving the country for more than a year, you can submit Form N-470 (officially called “Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes”).

As a reminder, as part of the naturalization process , you have to show one of the following:

  • That you have resided continuously in the United States for 5 years prior to submitting the application
  • That you have resided continuously in the United States for 3 years (for qualified spouses of U.S. citizens)

Immigration guides

  • When to Get a Work or Travel Permit
  • Establishing a Domicile for Your Green Card Application
  • Informing USCIS About a Change of Address
  • The Naturalization Timeline
  • Naturalization Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
  • Traveling Abroad While Your Adjustment of Status Is Pending

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  • Green Card Application

Can I work while my Green Card application is processing?

Updated: Feb. 27, 2020

USCIS can take a very long time to process applications.

If you’re like most applicants, you’re probably wondering “Can I work while my application is processing”. The answer is yes, you can work, but you need to meet a few requirements before you go and apply for that job.

travel permit during green card process

Before Applying for a Green Card

If you entered the U.S. on a visa, such as an H-1B or L-1, you may continue to work on that visa as long as it is valid and you follow all stipulations pertaining to that visa .

If you have work authorization through OPT or a TN visa you are permitted to continue working until that visa expires, but are not eligible to renew that authorization if you have a pending adjustment of status application.

Applying for a Green Card & Form I-765

If you have not applied for a green card yet and would like to be able to work in the U.S. during the processing time, you must submit the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization with your green card application. Once your application is approved, USCIS will send you an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) that you can use to work in the U.S. while awaiting the approval of your green card. EAD is valid for both full and part-time work.

Processing Timeline: USCIS previously issued work authorization within 90 days, but their current processing time averages 4-7 months . While it can be frustrating to wait that long to receive work authorization, these processing times are shorter than the current green card wait times and are meant to make the wait time for the green card a little easier.

The Form I-765 is typically filed at the same time as your Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. The application fee ($410) is waived if you submit it with the Form I-485 .

Already applied for a Green Card but forgot the Form I-765?

If you did not submit the Form I-765 with your initial Form I-485 application and want to do so, you can still submit it afterwards . However, it will still be processed based on the date it was sent (which can take longer than the green card). If you submit the Form I-765 afterwards, you will need to attach a copy of the I-797 receipt notice from the initial Form I-485 to the top of the application to have the I-765 fee waived.

Situations where you cannot file Form I-765 and work.

If you are going through the consular process outside of the United States, you are not eligible to apply for work authorization . Similarly, if your petitioner is a permanent residence , you are not eligible to submit the Form I-765 with your Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and will have to wait until you are eligible to submit the Form I-485 to apply for work authorization.

Work Authorization Renewal

If your I-485 is still pending approval and your work permit is close to expiring you can apply for a renewal of your EAD.

This application can be submitted up to 120 days within your work authorization expiring. This is done by submitting a new Form I-765 to USCIS. When applying for this renewal you will need to attach additional documents such as a copy of your current EAD and the Form I-797 notice from your Form I-485 application.

Working without Authorization

By law, employers in the U.S. are only allowed to employ U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, or other individuals given authority to work by the USCIS. Working without authorization can cause big problems for both the employee and the company. This could also potentially complicate your green card application and is not recommended.

If you have any questions about work authorization or your green card application, please reach out to SimpleCitizen support .

Was this article helpful?

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  • Employment Verification Letter (EVL) o Carta de Verificación de Empleo
  • Cálculo de los ingresos anuales actuales – Múltiples empleos en un año 
  • Entendiendo mejor la pregunta de Raza y Etnia de USCIS
  • Cómo preparar y enviar el Formulario I-693
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Salut, ma demande d’autorisation a déjà été validée . J’aimerais savoir quand est-ce le document original va me parvenir? Merci .

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Hello can simple citizen help with the first two stages of employment based green card before applying for I485.

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I am sponsoring my wife, who lives in Jamaica. I have submitted the initial application and supporting documents. I received the receipt from Uscis. My wife was called for an interview for a work program in the USA, which she applied for long before our marriage. Can she accept a work position in the USA from that program? Would it negatively affect her immigrant visa application in any way?

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Just asking why i didnt recieve my ead card yet..i have done my biometrics last march for my greencard and for ead

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Exploring Intercontinental Travel During Your Marriage Based Green Card

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS lays down some general rules and guidelines for green card application. Its policy manual includes dos and don’ts for conditional green card applicants concerning different aspects.

If you wish to travel to the United States, you need to familiarize yourself with these things to avoid mistakes. We also highly recommend working with an experienced immigration attorney in a law firm to assist with the process.

Marriage-based green cards processing time typically takes a while, depending on who you’re married to – U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident? It takes a shorter time if you’re married to a U.S. citizen, but it isn’t that long for the other category either. While you wait for your permanent resident card to be processed, you may want to travel or do other things.

This article contains some things you should know about international travel outside of the United States while waiting for your marriage-based green card.

Can I Travel Internationally While I Wait for My Green Card?

You can travel outside the United States while your green card is pending if you get a travel permit. The USCIS must issue a travel authorization, also known as an advance parole document, before you can travel abroad. If you plan to re-enter the country after temporary foreign travel, you must file I-131l Application for Travel Document. You can file the form with your I-485 concurrently; there is no fee for the Form I-131 travel visa application if filed this way.

The advance parole issued to you must be presented at all times when you want to travel until you become a permanent resident. This parole alongside every other travel document is vital and should be available every time you want to leave or enter the United States. You may not enter the United States or leave the United States if you cannot tender your advance parole travel document at the point of entry.

It’ll take ninety days from the day the USCIS receives the I-131 for it to issue the travel authorization. By then, the applicants will be receiving their interview notice also, which would make traveling outside pointless. Nevertheless, if your traveling is a must, you can reschedule the green card interview, but that’ll delay when you get your card.

Can a Spouse Travel While Waiting for a Green Card?

Can a Spouse Travel While Waiting for a Green Card

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A foreign national spouse can travel to visit their U.S. citizen spouse while waiting for their green card. In such cases, the foreign spouse can apply through a tourist visa, especially if they wish to go back afterwards. During the immigrant visa application, they may also apply for the K-3 visa intended for an immigrant spouse who wants to await the approval of their application in the U.S.

If it is an emergency, you can apply for an emergency travel document that will have an expiration date printed on it, and such an application can be made on the appropriate gov websites. Anything done outside those on secure websites is at the applicants risk, including sensitive information lost.

The tourist visa is a nonimmigrant status visa through which foreign nationals can enter and stay temporarily in the United States. The tourist visa caters to business and tourism visits, or both; the applicant may answer a few questions to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent.

How Many Days Can You Be Outside the U.S. with a Green Card?

You can stay outside the U.S. for as long as you want as a green card holder, but with caution. It is important that you don’t stay too long or come in through any illegal port of entry without a valid travel document so that your lawful permanent residents status is not considered abandoned. If you stay too long outside the U.S., the CBP officer at the port entry will do some secondary inspection.

They’ll access and review your previous entries and exits to the U.S. from the records as well as your travel document. They’ll ask where you’ve been, for how long you were gone, why you traveled, and who you left in the U.S. while you were away. Denied re-entry is a repercussion of staying too long outside the U.S. as a green card holder.

When Can You Apply for the Advance Parole Document?

The easiest and quickest way to apply for travel documents is with your initial marriage green card application package. Include Form I-131 with forms I-485 or I-130 along with other documentation, including a copy of your passport’s photo page. You won’t pay an additional legal fee if you submit the I-131 with your initial application for a green card.

Nevertheless, you can still apply if you’ve already submitted the application for your green card. In this case, you’ll need to submit the form with two passport-sized photos and copies of your photo ID and I-485 receipt notice.

What If I Move or Travel While I Await My Adjustment of Status Interview?

The wait for adjusting status is months long, depending on your local USCIS office. If you need to travel at that time, you should get official permission first or it’ll be assumed that you abandoned your status.

You’ll start again or, worse, you may not be granted entry into the United States for months or longer. That is, you’ll need to get an immigrant visa or green card from your home country’s U.S. consulate or embassy.

However, if you traveled with the K-3 visa, you can obtain the re-entry permit and use it as often as you want. That’s one of the immigration benefits of the K-3 visa. Thus, to be safe, file for the advance parole application with proof that you have filed your current status adjustment application.

Can You Apply for an Expedited Advance Parole Document?

You can apply for an expedited advance parole document in extremely urgent situations if you meet the criteria. You will need to contact the USCIS contact center and bring the following application materials to your appointment:

  • A filled and signed Form I-131 with the correct filing fee,
  • Evidence supporting the emergency request, like a death certificate or medical documentation, and
  • Two passport-sized photos.

Should You Apply for the Expedited Advance Parole Document?

We often recommend that immigrants avoid applying for an expedited advance parole document for important reasons or emergency travel documents. First, the process is long and difficult, and your reasons for the expedited document must be legitimate.

The USCIS won’t grant the request if you’re traveling for your best friend’s wedding, attending a business conference, or going on your honeymoon. Immigration officers even deny the request in emergency situations like the serious illness or death of a relative.

Also, you need to be in the U.S. to attend your biometrics appointment within three to four weeks of your permanent residence application. Then, you must attend your in-person green card interview with an immigration official three to four months after filing the application.

What Is the Immigration Law About Unlawful Presence?

If you leave the United States after staying longer than your visa’s validation date, you’ll be inadmissible into the country for three to ten years. It’s the same if you unlawfully stayed more than six months (180 days) but less than a year and leave before the removal proceedings start. If it is more than a year, you’ll not be able to re-enter for ten years, whether or not removal proceedings have started.

How Can Herman Legal Group Help You?

Do you want to travel internationally while remaining safely connected with your green card application? You need a tested and trusted immigration attorney who can help with the process of application for a travel document.

Even though the United States is the home country of your spouse or one you have resided in for years, a time will come when you will have to travel internationally, either for jobs or an emergency situation. At such times, Herman Legal Group can help you process your travel status while ensuring your citizenship application doesn’t suffer any major blow. To get this done, you will need to schedule a consultation with any of our qualified attorneys by calling +1-216-696-6170.

Alternatively, if you need a professional attorney who is sound in the general rule and exceptions regarding immigration law, then you need Richard Herman, and you can book online to schedule a consultation with him today.

There are no embargoes placed on international travel while awaiting pending green card application. However, we urge you to do so with caution to avoid having to start an already difficult green card application process over – or worse. Even if you’re traveling on business for an official government organization, you need to obtain a foreign national re-entry permit before leaving. Better still, speak freely and transparently with your immigration lawyer about your plans.

At Herman Legal Group, Your Future Matters Most Call now to request a consultation

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Travel documents for foreign citizens returning to the U.S.

If you are a citizen of another country and have been living in the U.S., you may need special documents if you leave the U.S. and then return.

Travel documents for permanent and conditional permanent residents

If you are outside the u.s. for less than one year.

If you are a permanent or conditional permanent resident who has been away from the U.S. for less than one year, you will only need to show your Green Card upon re-entry to the U.S.

If you are outside the U.S. for one year or longer

If you are a permanent or conditional permanent resident who has been outside the U.S. for one year or longer, apply for a re-entry permit before you travel. Use Form I-131 - Application for Travel Document .

  • For permanent residents, the re-entry permit is valid for two years from the date of issue.
  • For conditional permanent residents, the re-entry permit is valid for two years after the date of issue. Or it is valid up until the date you must apply for removal of the conditions on your status , whichever date comes first.

Travel documents for other foreign citizens living in the U.S.

If you are a foreign citizen re-entering the U.S., the documentation you need may depend on your immigration status:

  • Advance parole - You may use advance parole to re-enter the U.S. without applying for a visa. It is commonly used for re-entry by people in the process of applying for permanent residence, applying for a status adjustment, or applying for asylum.
  • Refugee travel document - You may be able to use this document to re-enter the U.S. if you have refugee or asylum status.

If you need help, contact U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) .

LAST UPDATED: December 6, 2023

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How to Apply for a Green Card

Before starting the application process, there are two questions that you should answer first:

1. Are you eligible to apply?

U.S. immigration laws provide a variety of ways for people to apply for a Green Card. The eligibility requirements may vary depending on the immigrant category you are applying under. Go to our Green Card Eligibility Categories page to see all the possible categories you can apply under and what the eligibility requirements are.

Being Sponsored for a Green Card

Most people who apply for a Green Card will need to complete at least two forms—an immigrant petition and a Green Card application (Form I-485). Someone else usually must file the petition for you (often referred to as sponsoring or petitioning for you), although you may be eligible to file for yourself in some cases. Here are the most common forms:

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
  • Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker
  • Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition
  • Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal

Other petitions include:

  • Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant
  • Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur
  • Form I-918, Petition of U Nonimmigrant Status
  • Form I-929, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant

Refer to your eligibility category to see if you need a petition.

2. Are you inside or outside the United States?

If you are eligible to apply for a Green Card, you then need to determine which process to use – adjustment of status or consular processing.

General Application Process

The steps you must take to apply for a Green Card will vary depending on your individual situation. However, here is the general application process that most applicants will go through:

  • Someone usually must file an immigrant petition for you (often referred to as sponsoring or petitioning for you). In some cases, you may be eligible to file for yourself.
  • After USCIS approves the immigrant petition, and there is a visa available in your category, you file either a Green Card application with USCIS or a visa application with the U.S. Department of State.
  • You go to a biometrics appointment to provide fingerprints, photos, and a signature.
  • You go to an interview.
  • You receive a decision on your application.

If Your Green Card Application Is Pending with USCIS

If you already submitted a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and your case is pending with USCIS, go to our While Your Green Card Application Is Pending with USCIS page for more information on checking your case status, updating your address, and making appointments with USCIS.

How to Track Delivery of Your Green Card, Employment Authorization Document (EAD), and Travel Document

  • Sign up for a Case Status Online account to get automatic case updates, including your U.S. Postal Service (USPS) tracking number when we mail your card or travel document.
  • Register for Informed Delivery through USPS to get daily images of mail being sent to you. With Informed Delivery, you can:
  • Automatically track the packages you're expecting
  • Set up email and text alerts
  • Enter USPS Delivery Instructions™ for your mail carrier

If your USPS tracking information shows your package was delivered but you have not received it, contact your local post office immediately . Remember, we will mail your card or travel document to the address you provided on your application (unless you told us to mail it your representative on Form G-28, Notice of Entry or Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative). 

If your mailing address changes after you file your application, you must update your address with USCIS and USPS as soon as possible . We recommend you use the USPS Look Up a ZIP Code tool to ensure that you give USCIS your full address using the standard abbreviations and formatting recognized by USPS.

If you don’t update your address promptly, your case could be delayed, your document(s) could get lost, and you may need to reapply and pay the fee again.

If You Already Have a Green Card

If you already have a Green Card, go to our After a Green Card is Granted page for more information on travel, renewing a card, and your rights and responsibilities as a Green Card holder.

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  3. Green Card Process Steps and Stages---

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  5. Re-Entry Permits for Green Card Holders, Explained

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  6. Green Card Process Steps

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  6. Re-entry Permit

COMMENTS

  1. Can I Travel While My Green Card is Processing?

    When applying for a Green card, an applicant also has the opportunity to apply for Travel Authorization by filing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. When filed along with the green card, this travel authorization-commonly also called "Advance Parole"-may take between 9-12 months, on average, to be adjudicated by USCIS.

  2. Travel Documents

    Green Card Processes and Procedures Travel Documents Travel Documents ALERT: We have published an updated Form I-131A, edition date 11/02/22.

  3. International Travel as a Permanent Resident

    Home Green Card After We Grant Your Green Card International Travel as a Permanent Resident International Travel as a Permanent Resident Close All Open All What documents do I need to travel outside the United States? What documents do I need to present to reenter the United States?

  4. Travel During I-140 Process: Reentry Permits & Immigration Application

    Travel During I-140 Process: Reentry Permits & Immigration Application By Jim Grey - Senior Editor Add a Comment Last updated: January 5, 2024 9 Min Read Table of Contents Key Takeaways: The I-140 process is a crucial step in immigrating to the US, impacting travel plans and potential re-entry.

  5. Application for Travel Document

    Alert: Beginning July 1, 2022, we will issue a new travel authorization document to Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries: Form I-512T, Authorization for Travel by a Noncitizen to the United States, at our discretion if we find the beneficiary merits this authorization.

  6. The Advance Parole Card

    A travel permit is a document that allows someone living in the U.S. while awaiting their green card to travel abroad without nullifying their green card application. What is USCIS Form I-131?

  7. Form I-131: The Advance Parole Travel Document Explained

    If you have or are applying for a green card, DACA status, or certain humanitarian visas, and you want to travel outside the United States, you need to get a travel document from the U.S. government. You apply for this document by filing Form I-131: Application for Travel Document with USCIS. This allows you to get what's called an Advance Parole document. Below is a guide on how to apply ...

  8. Can I Travel Abroad While My Adjustment of Status ...

    Obtaining a Travel Permit If traveling abroad is unavoidable due to work or family needs, you can apply for a travel permit that will allow you to leave the country while your adjustment of status application is being processed.

  9. Adjustment of Status: How To Apply for a Green Card While in the U.S

    Advance Parole is a permit that allows you to travel abroad while USCIS is processing your green card application and return to the United States without abandoning your application. If you leave the United States without Advance Parole, USCIS will bench your green card application, and you will have to start a new one.

  10. Re-Entry Permits for Green Card Holders, Explained

    The re-entry permit is simply a travel document that allows green card holders to maintain their U.S. residence when traveling abroad for periods of up to 2 years. You can only apply for a re-entry permit from within the United States, so it's important to make sure you understand the details before setting off on your travels.

  11. Travel Before Form I-485 Is Approved

    Source: USCIS Generally, adjustment of status applicants who want to travel before Form I-485 is approved must obtain an advance parole document before departing.

  12. While Your Green Card Application Is Pending with USCIS

    Call our USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283. For people who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability: TTY 800-767-1833. If You Need to Travel If you need to leave the United States temporarily while your Form I-485 is pending, please see the instructions for Form I-131, Application for Travel Document , for more information.

  13. Can I fly while my Green Card Application is processing?

    If your green card application (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) and/or Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization have been pending with USCIS for 75 or more days, you can either call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283 or 800-767-1833 (TTY) to inquire about the status of your ...

  14. Emergency Travel with a Pending Green Card Application

    February 1, 2022. For most green card applicants, once they file an I-485 application to adjust status it becomes more complicated to travel internationally, as they must wait in the U.S. until U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) issues a travel document. If you have an emergency and must travel before your travel document has been ...

  15. Can I Get a Work Permit While Waiting for My Green Card?

    Step 1: Prepare Form I-765 Step 2: Prepare Supporting Documents Step 3: Pay the Filing Fee Step 4: Submit Form I-765 How Long Will It Take To Get a Work Permit? Can I Start Working After I Get My Work Permit? What Happens if I Start Working Without a Work Permit? What Is a Work Permit?

  16. Green Card Processes and Procedures

    Yes No Each Green Card category have specific steps and procedures to follow. Listed below are some general processes and procedures to help you apply either while in the United States (known as "adjust

  17. Traveling Outside the U.S. as a Green Card Holder

    Yes, you can travel abroad as a green card holder — that's one of the many benefits of being a permanent resident. However, your trip must be temporary and you cannot remain outside the United States for more than 1 year.

  18. Visa Expires

    Depending on the green card category you'll be applying in, you could be facing a wait of several years between the time your visa petition was filed with USCIS and when a visa becomes available to you. Again, you'd need some separate immigration status (such as a student visa) in order to legally stay in the U.S. during this wait.

  19. Can I work while my Green Card application is processing?

    Applying for a Green Card & Form I-765. If you have not applied for a green card yet and would like to be able to work in the U.S. during the processing time, you must submit the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization with your green card application. Once your application is approved, USCIS will send you an Employment ...

  20. Exploring Intercontinental Travel During Marriage Based Green Card

    You can travel outside the United States while your green card is pending if you get a travel permit. The USCIS must issue a travel authorization, also known as an advance parole document, before you can travel abroad. If you plan to re-enter the country after temporary foreign travel, you must file I-131l Application for Travel Document.

  21. Emergency Travel

    Overview In case of an emergency, and before leaving the United States, you should know what documents will be required to reenter the United States as well as understand whether or not your departure will negatively impact your application (s) for immigration benefits.

  22. Travel documents for foreign citizens returning to the U.S

    Use Form I-131 - Application for Travel Document. For permanent residents, the re-entry permit is valid for two years from the date of issue. For conditional permanent residents, the re-entry permit is valid for two years after the date of issue. Or it is valid up until the date you must apply for removal of the conditions on your status ...

  23. How to Apply for a Green Card

    1. Are you eligible to apply? U.S. immigration laws provide a variety of ways for people to apply for a Green Card. The eligibility requirements may vary depending on the immigrant category you are applying under.