Emergency Travel: Don’t Leave Home Without It

If emergency travel must be taken during green card processing, don’t leave home without your travel document!

It always comes when we least expect it. A medical emergency at home and all of a sudden we have a green card applicant stranded here when all she wants to do is fly home to the bedside of an ailing parent or sibling. What to do when the Adjustment of Status application (green card application) with the application for the Advance Parole or travel document has just been filed and USCIS takes about 90 days to issue the Advance Parole?

As we know, if a green card applicant who is not on an H/L/K-3 or K-4/V visa departs the U.S. without the Advance Parole, that green card application is deemed abandoned and the unfortunate individual will be stranded overseas.

What to do?

Here’s what our clients recently did in a similar situation in the San Jose district office. Following our advice, they presented themselves at the USCIS office in San Jose without an INFOPASS appointment. This is crucial because USCIS often takes the position that if it was truly an emergency how would there be time to schedule an appointment. We then advised our clients to be very humble, very apologetic and to explain the situation in fearful and almost begging tones to the officer at the door, which they did. The officer guarding the door did not let them in at first but they were allowed in after the officer called a USCIS officer from inside. And we made sure that they took the evidence with them: doctor’s letter written in a grave voice; letter from the father begging the daughter to come home and be with the ailing mother; letter from a sibling saying that the situation was dire and that all of the siblings needed to be with mother now; and documentation of flight arrangements showing a two-week trip home. It took some persuading, and a supervisor was called in but eventually USCIS did issue an Advance Parole with multiple entries good for three months. Our green card applicant was able to return home to be with her mother and re-enter using her new Advance Parole.

In case you might think that USCIS doesn’t track all of the departures and entries into the U.S., our office received an RFE or Request for Evidence regarding the Advance Parole application we had originally filed. The RFE indicated that they had a record of our client’s departure during the Adjustment processing and they wanted confirmation that she had not abandoned her green card application. We immediately sent them a copy of the temporary emergency Advance Parole and that was the end of the story.

So, our experience seems to indicate that you can obtain an emergency Advance Parole with the right attitude and the right evidence.

Article categories: Travel

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