Depending on your immigration status, you may need to apply for advance parole before traveling outside the United States. The advance parole application is relatively straightforward, but you’ll need to provide official forms as well as evidence when you submit it to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To help keep your application organized, you can add a cover letter to your advance parole application packet. In this guide, you’ll learn more about how the cover letter fits in with the rest of the application documents and the best way to write a cover letter for your advance parole application.
Written by Paige Hooper.
Written February 19, 2023
What Is Advance Parole?
The word “parole” means “conditional release.” If you’re a noncitizen and you need to travel outside the U.S., you can request advance parole, which allows you to leave, and then return to, the U.S. if your trip meets certain conditions. If USCIS approves your application, it will issue you a document you can present to gain reentry into the U.S. when you return. Keep in mind, though, that advance parole documents don’t guarantee you’ll be allowed back into the country. The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer you meet at your port of entry can still refuse to admit you into the U.S. for security or health reasons.
Do I Need Advance Parole, and How Do I Apply?
If your immigration status is one of the following, you need advance parole to lawfully reenter the U.S. after traveling abroad:
Lawful permanent resident with pending green card application or pending application for adjustment of status
Pending or approved asylum or refugee status
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA recipient) — but not until your DACA application has been granted and you’ve received your DACA approval notice
Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
Advance parole is reserved for urgent and necessary travel — a vacation or family visit generally doesn’t qualify. Advance parole documents are generally only issued for the following travel categories:
Employment: Such as conferences, interviews, training, client meetings, and other work-related travel.
Educational: Such as attending a study abroad program or participating in an academic research project.
Humanitarian: Such as seeking necessary medical treatment, visiting a seriously ill relative, attending a family member’s wedding or funeral, or other urgent humanitarian reasons.
To apply for advance parole, you must submit a Form I-131: Application for Travel Document to USCIS. Your application packet must include evidence of your identity, such as a driver’s license or an employment authorization document (EAD) (sometimes called a work permit) and proof of your current immigration status. It must also include evidence that corroborates or explains the information in your application, along with your application fee and other supporting forms and documents.
Because an advance parole application requires many documents, a cover letter can help USCIS navigate the various materials in your application packet. It can also serve as a checklist for you as you prepare and submit your request.
What Is an Advance Parole Cover Letter?
A cover letter is a document you can prepare to serve as the first page of your advance parole application packet. The Form I-131 application instructions don’t require that you include a cover letter, but the cover letter can serve many helpful functions, such as:
Outline of application materials: Your cover letter can serve as a table of contents for your advance parole application. This helps the reviewing officer see at a glance what evidence is included with your request and in what order.
Document checklist: You can use your cover letter as a checklist to help you keep track of the supporting forms and evidence you must submit with your application and to ensure everything is included.
Application overview: Your cover letter allows you to briefly summarize why you’re applying for advance parole, including why your trip is so important and why it can’t wait until you get your green card.
Explanation of special circumstances: If your request for advance parole involves unique circumstances or complicated details, a cover letter is an especially important tool for explaining your situation. This helps the reviewing officer to be aware of and understand these special circumstances and keep them in mind when considering your application.
What Should My Advance Parole Cover Letter Include?
Your advance parole cover letter should be formatted as a letter (not just a list) and contain the following:
Your mailing address
The date you’re submitting your advance parole application
The relevant mailing address for the USCIS service center or lockbox where you’ll send your application packet
An appropriate subject line and greeting
A short introduction about why you’re seeking advance parole and explaining any special circumstances that apply to your case
A list, in order, of everything included in your application packet. This list should include:
A closing paragraph including a phone number and/or email address where the reviewing officer can contact you
Your signature and printed or typed full name
The evidence you’ll need to support your application varies depending on your current status and the reason you’re seeking advance parole. Check the instructions for Form I-131 to be sure you’ve included everything you need. Make sure that every supporting document you include is listed in the relevant section of your cover letter.
Advance Parole Cover Letter Sample
The following sample can be a useful starting point when you draft your advance parole cover letter, but you’ll need to customize the information included to match your situation and supporting evidence.
[Your Street Address]
[Your City, State ZIP code]
[Relevant USCIS mailing address]
RE: Advance Parole Travel Permit Application
Applicant: [YOUR FULL NAME]
To Whom It May Concern:
Enclosed, please find my Advance Parole application. I am seeking [humanitarian/employment/education] parole to [one-sentence reason for your trip]. [Briefly explain any special circumstances that apply to your application.]
The following documents accompany and support this application:
1.Filing Fee Payment for Form I-131: Check for $ [current fee amount] [OR] Form G-1450 Credit Card Charge Authorization
2.Form G-1145 E-notice authorization [if you requested it]
3.Form I-131, including supporting documents:
a. Declaration in Support of I-131 Advance Parole Application
b.[Continue listing supporting documents here]
If you have any questions or concerns, please call me at [PHONE NUMBER]. Thank you very much for your prompt consideration of my Advance Parole request.
[YOUR FULL NAME]
Tips for Writing Your Advance Parole Cover Letter
Your cover letter should be written in English and typed on a computer if possible. Be sure to identify and include every piece of evidence you attach to your application. List this evidence in the order in which it’s attached. Keep your explanations brief and to the point. A lengthy cover letter defeats the cover letter’s function as an at-a-glance roadmap for the reviewing officer. Try to keep your cover letter to one page if possible. Proofread your letter before submitting your application.