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Can you travel while I-485 is pending is a common question and the simple answer is NO unless you have any other visa like H1B that can help you re-enter the USA?
Apply for Advance Parole using the USCIS I-131 form to re-enter the USA if you do not have any other visa.
Fill USCIS Advance Parole Form Online
Is i485 Abandoned on travel?
You can travel and your pending i485 (with or without Advance parole) will not be abandoned if you have one of these visa types to re-enter the USA:
- Work visas like H1B and its dependent H4, L-1, and its dependent L2.
- K-3 spouse or a K-4 child of a US citizen.
- V-1 spouse or V-2, V-3 child of a green cardholder.
Advance Parole Denial
#1 I-131 Denied Reason as International Travel
USCIS denies pending advance parole applications (I-131) if you travel overseas.
If you do not have a visa to re-enter the USA without AP, USCIS may also deny your pending i-485 AOS (Adjustment of status) application if you leave the USA.
You can find many forums filled with I-131 denial discussions.
Normally, you are allowed to travel while your other visa like L-1, L-2, H1B, H-4, K-3, K-4, or V is still valid and can be used to re-enter the USA.
But, USCIS can deny your pending i-131 advance parole application irrespective of your visa on your exit from the USA.
#2 AP denial at Port of Entry
If your Advance Parole is approved, you will receive an I-512 which can be used to re-enter the USA.
You can still be denied entry at a US airport after inspection by an immigration officer.
#1 With Pending AOS
If you plan to return to the USA using your valid H1B, then you can safely travel without AP as well.
But, if your H-1B visa has expired and you do not want to attend a visa interview abroad, you may like to use advance parole to return to the USA. In this case, H1B and H4 should get AP (I-131) approval.
These days, USCIS issues a combo card for both i485 EAD and AP. So, you need to wait for this card to be approved and receive it before travel.
Fill USCIS Advance Parole Form Online
#2 Re-Enter USA with AP status
If you use Advance parole to re-enter the USA, your status on i94 will show as “Parolee” and i94 will be valid for 1 year.
You can only work for the same H1B employer with which you had an H1B approval prior to leaving the USA.
You can change your i94 status again to H1B by filing an H1B extension, Amendment, or Transfer after entering on AP. Once H1B is approved, you will get a new i94 with the status as “H1B Admitted“.
If you plan to re-enter the USA using AP and directly want to work for a NEW employer (which does not hold your H1B currently) on Day 1, then you need to use your i485 EAD.
Note that if you decide to use EAD, you cannot return to H1B status again while staying in the USA. You cannot file an H1B extension, amendment, or transfer once you have switched to i485 EAD.
To change your status back to H1B, you would be required to apply for H1B with consular processing and then exit and reenter the USA with a valid H1B visa stamp in your passport.
Status after AP i94 Expired
If you do not change your status from “Parolee” to “H1B” explicitly by filing an H1B extension, your status will automatically be changed to a ‘period of authorized stay’ with i485 pending once i94 expires.
You will have to use your i-485 EAD (filed using form i765) to keep working if you want.
You can use this app to fill out the EAD form, validate all, and make sure the form is not rejected or an RFE is sent by USCIS.
If you entered the USA using advance parole and have not converted to any other visa type, your status will change to ‘out of status’ immediately after the i-485 application denial.
You can return to the US using an F1 visa but the chances of entry denial at the US port of entry are high. This is because an F1 visa does not allow dual intent i.e. immigrant and non-immigrant intent.
You have shown your immigrant intent by filing an i-485 green card application.
It depends on the immigration officer’s discretion at the port of entry.
We suggest avoiding travel unless you have approved advance parole and you can use it to return to the US.
You can travel as long as you can use your H1B visa to return to the USA while EB2 to EB3 downgrade i485 is pending.
It does not matter whether you apply for i131 advance parole or not.
Some people use advance parole to enter the US because they want to avoid US embassy visa interviews due to the fear of H1B visa denials or delays with form 221g issuance.
Note that we do not recommend using AP to enter the USA if you have filed i-485 with EB2 to EB3 downgrade as you will narrow your options to jump to the EB2 queue if it starts to move faster in the future.