Why Traveling While Your Green Card Application Is Processing Is Generally Not Advisable
If you have applied for a green card through the adjustment of status process, it is generally not recommended to travel outside the United States while your application is still pending. There are several reasons why traveling during this time can be risky, and it's important to be aware of these factors.
Reentry Difficulties: Leaving the U.S. while your green card application is in process can potentially lead to difficulties when you try to reenter the country. Immigration officials may question your intention to permanently reside in the U.S. if you leave while your application is pending, which could result in delays, additional scrutiny, or even denial of reentry.
Abandonment of Application: In certain cases, traveling outside the U.S. can be interpreted as abandoning your green card application. This is particularly true if you do not have a valid travel document, such as an Advance Parole document, which allows you to reenter the country while your application is pending. Without such a document, your absence from the U.S. might be seen as a voluntary withdrawal of your application.
Unforeseen Delays: Green card applications can sometimes face unexpected delays due to various reasons, such as administrative backlogs or changes in immigration policies. If you are abroad when such delays occur, you may face challenges in receiving important updates or requests for additional documentation from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), potentially jeopardizing the progress of your application.
Biometrics Appointment and Interviews: During the green card application process, you may be required to attend biometrics appointments and interviews. These appointments are typically scheduled within the United States, and if you are not present for them due to travel, it may disrupt the processing of your application and lead to further delays or complications.
Obtaining a Travel Permit: If you have a valid reason to travel outside the U.S. while your green card application is pending, it is advisable to obtain a travel permit known as an Advance Parole document. This document allows you to reenter the U.S. without abandoning your application. However, it is important to consult with an immigration attorney or USCIS for guidance on obtaining and using an Advance Parole document.
Traveling Inside the U.S. While Your Application Is Pending: If you need to travel within the United States, such as for work or personal reasons, it is generally considered safe to do so as long as you carry proper identification, such as your passport and Form I-797, Notice of Action, which acknowledges receipt of your green card application. However, it is always advisable to carry a copy of your application materials and consult with an immigration attorney if you have any concerns.
If you are uncertain about the best immigration path for your circumstances, it is recommended to seek guidance from an immigration attorney who can provide personalized advice based on your specific situation.