Even if you have legal immigration status, you may not be able to travel freely outside the United States and re-enter legally. To travel from and be allowed to return to the U.S., some people need to apply for advance parole from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You can travel for humanitarian, educational, or employment purposes, and part of the application process includes providing evidence for the purpose of your trip. One way to provide this evidence is to write a declaration in support letter explaining why USCIS should grant your Advance Parole request.
Written by Paige Hooper.
Written February 23, 2023
What Is Advance Parole?
Advance parole, in an immigration context, means permission to temporarily leave and then return to the U.S. so long as certain conditions are met. You need advance parole to travel outside the U.S. and reenter legally if
You’re a legal permanent resident with a pending green card application or application to adjust status.
You’ve been granted asylum or refugee status or you have a pending Form I-589 Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal.
You’re a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient.
You have Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
To qualify for advance parole, you must be lawfully present in the U.S. You must also have a valid reason for traveling outside the U.S. that falls within one of these three categories:
Educational purposes: Such as performing academic research or participating in a study abroad program.
Humanitarian purposes: Such as attending a relative’s wedding or funeral, visiting a family member who is seriously ill, seeking necessary medical care for yourself, or another pressing health- or family-related issue.
Employment: Such as assignments, conferences, interviews, client meetings, training, and other work-related travel.
Is Traveling With Advance Parole Risky?
Advance parole is meant to be used for urgent or unavoidable travel. Vacations or social visits usually don’t qualify. Traveling outside the U.S. always poses some risks to noncitizens. Even if you’ve been granted advance parole, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be allowed back into the U.S. when you return. For example, if your advance parole period expires before you return, you’ll likely be denied re-entry. Customs and Border Protection officers can also refuse to admit you into the U.S. for health or security reasons, even with valid advance parole documents.
To apply for advance parole, you must submit Form I-131: Application for Travel Document along with supporting evidence to USCIS. If your planned travel is for humanitarian reasons, one piece of that evidence can be a declaration letter in support of your trip.
What Is a Declaration in Support Letter?
You need to provide evidence along with your application for advance parole. In other words, you need to explain why your proposed travel is necessary and urgent. For employment or educational travel, this evidence usually consists mostly of official documents from your school, educational program, or employer. For humanitarian-based parole, official documentation isn’t always available.
That’s where the personal declaration (also called a “declaration letter” or “declaration in support”) comes in. This letter is an opportunity to explain in detail why you must travel outside the U.S. at the requested time. A declaration in support of advance parole usually contains these main components:
Your declaration in support should begin with an opening paragraph that includes your name, immigration status, A-Number or other identifier, where and when you seek to travel, and a brief description of the reason for your trip.
Reasons for travel
Next, explain why you need to travel outside the U.S. in 1–3 paragraphs. Explain why this trip is important to you (and to your family, if applicable) and why it can’t wait until after you’ve secured your green card. If you have other evidence to support your application, reference it in this section.
Request for advance parole
Next, your declaration in support should include an explicit request for USCIS to grant your advance parole application. Explain how you’ll benefit if your request is approved and the potential negative consequences you’ll face if your request is denied.
Summary and closing
Finally, let USCIS know how to reach you with any questions. Sign your name, then print or type your full name below your signature.
Is a Declaration in Support Required for Advance Parole for Humanitarian Reasons?
The USCIS instructions for the Form I-131 Advance Parole application don’t explicitly require that applications for humanitarian parole include a declaration in support. But there’s generally less authoritative supporting evidence to back up a humanitarian parole request, as compared to parole for education or employment. A declaration in support not only bolsters the amount of evidence backing your application but also helps identify and explain the other supporting documentation you include with your application.
Declaration in Support of Advance Parole Letter Template
You can use the following template for guidance when writing your declaration in support. Copy or download the template document to make edits. While the template serves as an example, remember that you must edit the relevant sections to match your unique situation. Remember that this declaration is just one piece of evidence to support your request. Your application will be stronger if you include more documents to support the information in your request.
Declaration in Support of I-131 Advance Parole Application for [YOUR NAME]
To whom it may concern:
My name is [FIRST AND LAST NAME]. I am a [DACA recipient or relevant status]. I am requesting Advance Parole to take one trip outside of the United States for [REASON]. I plan to travel to [COUNTRY] on [DATE], for a total of [NUMBER OF DAYS].
My [RELATIONSHIP, such as mother or aunt] [YOUR FAMILY MEMBER’S NAME] is [very ill (edit to match your situation)]. [She] is diagnosed with [DIAGNOSIS]. (See [DOCTOR’S LETTER OR OTHER RELEVANT EVIDENCE] attached). [She] takes several medications as prescribed by [her] doctor, but [her] health continues to decline. (See pharmacy list of medications/bills). [She] and I have a close relationship. I talk to [her] on the phone and [she] and I share our life with one another. We are very close despite living in two separate countries. I love [her] very much.
I would like to travel and see [her] for MOTHER’S DAY/HER BIRTHDAY/DURING MY VACATION DAYS, ETC. I wish to see [her] and care for [her] before [she] becomes sicker. [She] wants to see me before [she] dies. (See [her] notarized declaration here).
I kindly ask that my request be granted. We both would suffer if I was not able to visit [her]. [She] is a wonderful [woman] who has helped me and guided me throughout my life. (See attached [pictures of FAMILY MEMBER + APPLICANT], [PICTURES OF FAMILY MEMBER]).
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 application.
[YOUR FULL NAME]
Tips for Writing a Declaration in Support Letter
When writing your declaration in support of your application for advance parole, be as specific as possible. Include relevant details about your circumstances that show the reviewer why your trip is so important. To increase the likelihood of eligibility, avoid vague, general language. For example, don’t say, “I want to attend my sister’s wedding.” Instead write, “My only sister is getting married. We’re very close and speak on the phone every day. We would both be devastated if I couldn’t attend her wedding.”
If possible, type your letter on a computer. Proofread your declaration carefully to check for spelling and grammar errors. If your declaration isn’t in English, you’ll need a certified English translation.