When it comes to traveling internationally while your green card application is still in process, the answer can be a bit complicated. Generally speaking, it is not recommended to travel outside of the United States while your application is pending. However, there are certain circumstances where you may be able to travel without jeopardizing your application.
Before we dive into whether or not you can travel while your green card application is pending, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the process. When applying for a green card, there are two main steps involved: filing an immigrant petition and adjusting your status.
The first step involves filing an immigrant petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This petition is typically filed by a family member, employer, or through self-petition if you qualify as a special immigrant. Once the petition is approved, you can move on to the second step of adjusting your status.
During this second step, you will file Form I-485 to officially apply for a green card. This process involves submitting various forms, supporting documents, and attending an interview. Once your application is approved, you will receive your green card and can officially become a permanent resident of the United States.
While your green card application is pending, it’s important to maintain your non-immigrant status. If you leave the country during this period, you may be seen as abandoning your application and could face serious consequences. This is why it’s generally not recommended to travel internationally while your application is pending.
Despite the general recommendation against traveling while your green card application is pending, there are some exceptions where it may be allowed. For example, if you have a valid advance parole document, you may be able to leave the country for a short period of time without abandoning your application. Advance Parole is a special travel document that allows certain non-immigrants to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad.
If you choose to travel internationally while your green card application is pending without a valid advance parole document, there is a risk that your application will be deemed abandoned. This means that you will have to complete the process via consular processing, you may have to start the application process all over again, which can be lengthy and costly. So, it is important to carefully consider all factors before making any decisions regarding international travel during the green card application process.
If you have questions relating to immigration, we would be happy to review your case, guide you through the necessary legal procedures, and answer any questions you have about your application.