When Do You Need an Advance Parole Document?

By Katherine at Legal Language
Posted on 03/07/2011
In Immigration, Maintaining Status

advance parole doucmentOnce you are in the United States and you file an application for a green card, it’s not advisable to leave the country — unless you have an advance parole document.

The advance parole document lets you make short international trips while your US Citizenship and Immigration Services petitions are pending.

All About the Advance Parole Document

The advance parole document, or travel document as it is sometimes called, is not required to depart the United States.

However, if you leave the US while applying for lawful permanent residence, border authorities may deem that you abandoned your application and may not allow you back into the country.

It often takes anywhere from nine months to a year and a half to get a green card from the time the application is filed, and many applicants want to leave the United States for a number of reasons during that time, such as business trips, weddings or family emergencies.

The advance parole document must be applied for and received before the immigrant leaves the United States. Advance parole documents will not be shipped overseas.

How to Apply for the Advance Parole Document

To request an advance parole document, you will need to fill out and file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document.

This form can be filed concurrently with the main application for a green card (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status). The application for advance parole also may be filed at a time when the I-485 is pending.

The cost of filing Form I-131 is $360. An $85 biometrics fee and subsequent biometrics appointment may be necessary as well.

The processing times vary, but the advance parole document is usually sent within three months of the filing. The document can be expedited for an additional fee if the applicant has a valid reason, such as a family medical emergency.

Applicants are advised not to take extended trips using the advance parole document. A month is generally considered to be the maximum amount of time spent overseas, and border officers will likely ask about the reason for travel. Advance parole documents are generally valid for one year and can be renewed if necessary.

A note: Many applicants who have lived in the United States for a while have let their visas expire. While they are back in legal status once the I-485 is on file with USCIS, they should not apply for the advance parole document if they were out of status for more than 180 days. Applicants who were out of status for more than six months in the United States will be ineligible to reenter the country after they left, even if they initially entered the US with a valid visa.

Is the Advance Parole Document Required for Everyone?

If you are in the United States under certain visa categories, you may be able to travel internationally without needing an advance parole document.

You won’t need an advance parole document if you have one of the following visas:

  • H-1 temporary worker visa
  • H-4 dependent of a temporary worker visa
  • L-1 intracompany transferee visa
  • L-2 spouse or dependent of an intracompany transferee visa
  • K-3 spouse visa
  • K-4 child of a US citizen visa
  • V-2 spouse visa
  • V-4 child of a lawful permanent resident visa

While the advance parole document doesn’t guarantee admission into the United States, many applicants use it easily and frequently to maintain business and family relationships while in the process of getting a green card.

22 Responses to “When Do You Need an Advance Parole Document?”

  1. Sheridin Says:

    I am Canadian married to an American. I have applied for my I485 and I131 and I765. My documentation papers/card for the I765 have been approved and are in the mail for the I765 (employment authorization) Is this documentation good for travelling back to Canada or do I have special papers needed for the I131 (advanced parole back to Canada)that I will need to wait upon before I can return back to Canada to visit family?

  2. Katherine at Legal Language Says:

    Sheridin — you cannot use employment authorization to travel; you will need the advance parole document before you can visit Canada and return to the United States. If you have any further questions, consult an immigration lawyer or another legal professional.

  3. Fariel Says:

    I am also a Canadian married to an American (in March this year). I recently received a “combo card” – my employment authorization card that also states that it serves as I-512 advance parole. Can I use this to visit Canada for just over a week before my green card interview?

  4. Diane at Legal Language Says:

    Fariel – Congrats on your recent marriage! You will have to ask USCIS or your immigration attorney to find out for sure.

  5. sam abudalbouh Says:

    if i have I_512 travel ducuments. do i need translet visa to Canada if my plain need to stop there?

  6. Diane at Legal Language Says:

    Sam – contact USCIS to find out exactly what you will need to have for your specific travel plans.

  7. Gianni Says:

    I just received my Employement Authorization Card ” serves as I-512 Advance Parole”. Can i use this card to seek and apply for a job..or i have to have a Social Security number anyway?

  8. Diane at Legal Language Says:

    Gianni, please contact USCIS or another immigration professional that knows the details of your specific situation!

  9. Tabby Says:

    I have a I-512 and a US greencard, can I travel to Canada? Do I need a passport? because I only have the passport from my country of citizenship (I am not Canadian) from which I am an asylee. Please clarify. Thanks.

  10. Dan at Legal Language Says:

    Tabby – you’ll have to check with USCIS or an immigration professional familiar with your circumstances for information on your travel requirements.

  11. Sadia Says:

    Hi..I had apply for DACA form and got my SSN so can I apply for advance parole to travel to my country…? Cuz it’s been 14 years I didnt get chance to go….so if I apply for for I-131 advance parole should I get chance to travel to my country?plz let me know..

  12. Kaytie at Legal Language Says:

    Hi Sadia,

    Advance parole documents are for those applying for a green card. DACA may have different requirements for travel–you should contact USCIS to find out what your options are.


    Kaytie at Legal Language

  13. Mohammad Jason Says:

    My I 485 pending, can’t go to us. I have visiting visa, my wife us citizen, have interview July 25, I know made the mistake, what do I do now? I am Canadian resident

  14. Lu Says:

    I read in the article says” A note: Many applicants who have lived in the United States for a while have let their visas expire. While they are back in legal status once the I-485 is on file with USCIS, they should not apply for the advance parole document if they were out of status for more than 180 days. Applicants who were out of status for more than six months in the United States will be ineligible to reenter the country after they left, even if they initially entered the US with a valid visa.” I was on F1 visa and my visa expired in May 2012, does it mean even though I have received Advance Parole already, I will not be able to come back to the U.S. since my visa has been expired over a year? Please help me, I’m leaving in 3 weeks

  15. Armando Says:

    I made the petition for my motherfor permanent residency on November 15, 2012, she received her temporary working visa; but one of her daughter’s having health problems with 2 gastrointestinal surgeries in the last month, my mother is concerned about my sister health. Could she applied for Advanced Parole to visit her daughter in Mexico?

  16. Elizabeth Says:

    Armando –

    Legal Language cannot provide legal guidance on your immigration question. Contact a lawyer for advice on your situation.

    Thank you for reading.

    – Elizabeth at Legal Language

  17. Sinaa Says:

    I am a Green Card holder and I was out of the country fron Dec. 2013 until June 2013 (Less than 6 months exactly), and I want to travel to canada now for 3 months to see my son. Is this going to effect my greencard.

  18. Arveen Says:


    I am a canadian citizen , 60 years old and almost ready to retire. Last spring I married an american citizen in US while on B-2 Visa, whom I knew for sometime. I then returned home to Canada as I work and live here. I do visit my spouse one every three months and she visits me as well. What is the best way for getting a green card? Will I apply for immigrant or K-3 visa while I am here in Canada? Will I have commited a Visa Fraud by marry under B-2?


  19. Malia Says:

    I’m applying for a green card soon. Once I’ve submitted my papers, would I need an Advance Parole to travel to a US territory/commonwealth? Specifically Guam/Saipan?

  20. John Says:

    Reading your responses to peoples questions, I will not do any business with legal language. You guys can’t even answer the simplest questions. No THANK YOU

  21. Katherine at Legal Language Says:

    Hi John,

    Legal Language is largely a Language Service Provider. We primarily offer professional legal translation, interpreting and transcription. Since our clients usually have an interest in law and legal matters, especially immigration, we often post about these topics. However, while Legal Language also offers legal services such as international service of process, and employs attorneys to carry out these services, we cannot give specific legal advice to individuals online. It is unethical and, without knowledge of case specifics, often impossible.

    I hope this clears things up, and thank you for your comment.

  22. Kerstin Says:

    I am a German citizen. I am married to a US citizen. I obtained my green card in 2003. I renewed it and obtained my new one in 2014. In January I purchased flight tickets to visit family in Germany for me and my 4 children. In February of 2015 I received a letter from USCIS stating I need to send my green card back as there is an error on my new green card the resident start date. Upon looking at it it said resident since 2014 instead of 2003. I send my card back but am worried as my departure date to Germany would be June 17th and return date August 5th. If I do not get my corrected green card back what would I need to do to be allowed reentry into the USA? Or would it be safer to stay in the USA and leave once I have the new green card?

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