For green card applicants based in the United States and people in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, Advance Parole is a welcome provision. With the travel document, you can leave the United States while in DACA status or while U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processes your green card application. Advance Parole provides a chance to visit ailing family, study abroad, attend forums and conferences abroad, and catch up with friends. But sometimes the U.S. government does not allow people with valid Advance Parole documents to re-enter the United States. This article explains some reasons why the U.S. government would refuse to let you back into the country even with Advance Parole and some things you can do if you find yourself in this situation as an adjustment of status applicant or a DACA recipient.
There are multiple reasons U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) could deny your entry into the United States with Advance Parole. The Advance Parole application, known as Form I-131, or the "Application for Travel Document," does not guarantee you re-entry. After you pay the filing fee and USCIS approves your application, your document will act as a re-entry permit that gives you a pass to travel to a U.S. port of entry. You’ll need to get the physical document before you take your trip abroad. Be sure to check the processing times at your local USCIS office to make sure you can get approval before your travel date.
On your return, officers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), will decide if you can enter the country at the port of entry. Border patrol officers or CBP officers exercise discretion over whether you can return to the United States. Even if you have all the correct documentation, officers could still turn you away.
Another reason you could be denied re-entry is if USCIS denied your adjustment of status application while you were abroad on Advance Parole. Without a pending application, you lose your Advance Parole travel status since there is no longer a basis for your re-entry. USCIS may have denied your application because you did not complete all the application steps while abroad. For example, you may have missed USCIS correspondence at your foreign address and did not act on their request for an interview or appointment.
If USCIS denies your entry into the United States with Advance Parole, you can still pursue some options. The options available to you depend on whether you got Advance Parole based on your immigrant visa application, or based on your DACA status.
If your Advance Parole ended because U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denied your adjustment of status application, you could apply for a new visa. You could get tourist visa if you’re just visiting or you could even re-apply for the green card. You can re-apply for the green card as long as the reason USCIS denied your application is not because you don’t qualify for a green card.
For example, USCIS may have rejected your application because you didn’t provide enough supporting evidence or did not respond to requests for additional evidence they might have sent you. In that case, under immigration law, it is possible to apply again for the same immigration status. You may do so from your home country through your local U.S. embassy or by adjsutment of status if you qualify. It is good to talk to an immigration lawyer or law firm before taking this next step.
If you are a DACA recipient who gets stuck abroad, you may not be able to re-enter the United States for some time. This is because you would have spent some time in the United States without lawful immigration status before getting DACA. This is called unlawful presence. For example, overstaying your visa as someone in nonimmigrant status would result in unlawful presence. There are consequences for this, depending on the length of your unlawful presence. You could face a three-year or ten-year bar from re-entering the United States. USCIS could even permanently ban you from returning.
As a DACA recipient with Advance Parole, you will likely have to wait out your re-entry bar if border patrol officials don’t allow you to enter the United States. You’ll be able to apply for a tourist visa to enter the country after you’ve waited out your re-entry bar.
Ultimately, the best thing you can do is talk to an immigration lawyer, especially one with experience with deportation cases and removal proceedings. If you face a re-entry bar, they could help you file a waiver of inadmissibility for your unlawful presence. A waiver of inadmissibility is a pardon from the U.S. government for your unlawful presence. To file the waiver, you may have to justify your presence by providing humanitarian reasons or explaining how you provide a significant public benefit or other immigration benefits.
For example, you may have to prove a family member who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident will face extreme hardship and become dependent on the government if you have to wait out your re-entry bar. If the U.S. government approves your waiver application, you can apply for a U.S. visa to enter the country once more. Filing the waiver is a complex legal process, and you absolutely should get a lawyer’s help with filing them with the U.S. government.
Moving forward after being denied entry into the United States with Advance Parole can be complicated, but working with a good immigration attorney can make it easier. If you can't afford the attorney fees 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!