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Advance parole is a travel document which allows someone who does not have permanent residency in the United States to leave the country and then return. This document must be obtained prior to travel. If it is not, leaving the country will be considered an abandonment of any pending application with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and when the traveler attempts to re-enter, he or she may not be allowed to do so.
People obtain advance parole by filing a form I-131 with USCIS. A filing fee is also required. While applicants are not necessarily required to have an interview to receive the travel document, some regional offices may request one.
Individuals who do not have permanent residency in the United States include people applying for a change of status, applicants for asylum, and refugees who are applying to stay in the country, as well as people in the United States on temporary visas. In all of these cases, if the person leaves the country without receiving advance parole, that person will have to start back at square one on re-entry, if he or she is admitted. With advance parole, the person can leave and return. No special visa is required to re-enter the United States if someone has applied for and received advanced parole.
The advance parole document is not a guarantee that someone will be allowed to enter the United States again after a trip abroad. People still have to go through Customs when they arrive at a port or airport, and if they are carrying illegal materials, they can be barred from entry. Activities undertaken while abroad can also put someone without permanent residency at risk. In the case of undocumented immigrants, it is not possible to apply for advanced parole, as these individuals are not in the country legally to begin with.
While someone is traveling out of the country, his or her application with USCIS is put on hold. When the person returns, the application can resume. A common reason to need advance parole is to collect documents to support an application for permanent residency or to attend to family matters at home. If an emergency situation arises and a person needs to leave the country as soon as possible, this should be discussed with a USCIS representative who can provide assistance.
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