Recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under U.S. immigration law can travel abroad to study without compromising their immigration status. Advance Parole is a document that allows students with these immigration statuses to spend some time outside of the United States and return. People who also have pending adjustment of status green card applications can also apply for Advance Parole so they can study abroad without abandoning their applications. ImmigrationHelp.org is a nonprofit that can help you prepare your Advance Parole application for free. In this article, we'll highlight the educational reasons that can be the basis of an Advance Parole application, and then explain the application process itself.
What is Educational Advance Parole?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, and adjustment of status and asylum applicants can get Advance Parole travel documents for educational purposes.
You need Advance Parole documents to travel abroad if you have DACA status. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agency, grants educational Advance Parole. DACA students can travel for study-abroad programs or academic research. You must be in the United States when renewing your DACA status. You must also be in the country for any biometrics appointments.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients must be physically present in the United States. So, they’ll need Advance Parole if they wish to travel abroad. USCIS generally grants them Advance Parole without requiring a specific reason for travel.
Adjustment of Status (AOS) applicants need Advance Parole before leaving the country. Without Advance Parole, applicants can jeopardize their AOS application. AOS applicants can apply for business overseas assignments, urgent humanitarian reasons, or personal travel reasons.
Asylum applicants need Advance Parole before traveling abroad. But be aware that returning to your home country could weaken your asylum claim.
Note that Advance Parole doesn’t guarantee re-entry to the country after traveling for education purposes. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) could deny you entry at a port of entry if you don’t comply with the terms of your Advance Parole or at their discretion even if you did comply.
Travel abroad may impact your future immigration status negatively or positively. If you’re in DACA status, returning to the United States successfully with Advance Parole will make you meet the legal entry requirement for green cards. On the other hand, a path to long-term permanent residence for DACA is still unavailable. It is possible that U.S. lawmakers may pass a law allowing DACA recipients to become permanent residents on the condition that they are present in the United States on a specific date. If you happen to be abroad at the time, you may end up ineligible. This is a possible risk to keep in mind.
How do you get Educational Advance Parole?
To submit an educational Advance Parole request, you’ll need to file Form I-131. You’ll also need to submit evidence proving your trip’s educational purpose.
Step 1: Fill and sign Form I-131
Form I-131 is U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) “Application for Travel Document.” Form I-131 will ask you to describe your reason for traveling and also where you’re traveling. You’ll need to provide your travel dates and sign the form when you’ve completed it.
There are different fees to file the form based on your application type. Visit USCIS’s website to determine your filing fee. You can make your payment with a check or money order. You can also pay with a credit card using Form G-1450. Your financial situation may also qualify you for a fee waiver. See USCIS’s instructions to request a fee waiver if this applies to you.
Step 2: Gather evidence proving educational reasons for travel
You’ll need to provide these supporting documents with your filing fee payment and your signed Form I-131:
- A copy of a photo identity document, like a passport, driver’s license, or your work permit ID card.
- A copy of a document proving your current immigration status. For example, your TPS or DACA approval notice or your adjustment of status receipt notice.
- Two identical passport-style photos of yourself taken within one month of filing.
- Evidence that your trip is for educational reasons. You can provide an acceptance letter to a study-abroad program. You can also provide a letter from a professor or academic research advisor.
Unless USCIS asks for originals, be sure to only submit document copies.
Step 3: Mail application packet to USCIS
Finally, you’ll need to mail in your application packet. Your application packet should include all your supporting materials, signed forms, and fees. Find out which field office you’ll mail your packet to on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) website. Be sure to keep a copy of your application for yourself.
Applying for Advance Parole for educational purposes can be complicated, but working with a good immigration attorney can make it easier. If you can't afford the attorney fees for legal advice and don't want to handle your Advance Parole case alone, we may be able to help. If you are eligible, our free web app will walk you through the process and help you prepare and file your application with the U.S. government. Click "Get Started" to see how we can help make your American dream come true!