AILA Reports USCIS Denying Form I-131 Advance Parole Applications When Applicant Travels While Application is Pending

Alexander J. Segal's picture

On August 18, 2017, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) issued a Practice Alert titled “USCIS Is Denying Pending Forms I-131 for Abandonment Due to International Travel” (see AILA Doc. No. 17081867).

Members of AILA have reported that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been denying Form I-131, Application for Travel Document applications for advance parole for applicants who traveled abroad while their applications were pending. The Forms I-131 are even being denied for abandonment even in circumstances where:

  • The applicant has a separate valid advance parole document; or
  • The applicant has a valid H, K, L, or V visa to return to the United States.

Pending Form I-131

AILA explains that the denial notification letters refer applicants to page 6 of the Form I-131 instructions, which state that departure with a pending Form I-131 will result in the advance parole application being considered abandoned. AILA explains that USCIS had previously not considered such applications abandoned when filed by individuals who had either a separate advance parole document or a valid H, K, L, or V visa to return to the United States.

AILA states that it contacted the USCIS for information on the policy. The USCIS Service Center Operations Directorate (SCOPS) informed AILA that the denials were proper and in accord with current USCIS policy.

Individuals applying for advance parole to travel abroad are well-advised to consult with an experienced immigration attorney for case-specific guidance on how travel may affect their status. In light of the reported denials of Form I-131 on ground of abandonment, it appears that traveling abroad with a pending Form I-131 will now lead to the denial of the pending Form I-131, notwithstanding any other factors such as having a valid advance parole document or a valid H, K, L, or V visa to return to the United States. Individuals who may be affected should consult with an experienced attorney for up-to-date information on the current policies.