What Is Advance Parole?

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Everyone traveling into the United States needs some form of paperwork to prove their legal right to enter the country. Citizens just need to show proof of citizenship, but what about non-citizens? An alien who is in the process of changing his status, a refugee or an asylum seeker who leaves the country, will not be allowed to return without the right documentation. This form, which must be acquired before traveling, is called Advance Parole.

What is Advance Parole in Immigration?

Advance Parole is a document permitting non-citizens without immigration visas to return to the United States after traveling abroad. In ordinary circumstances, if a person in the process of trying to change his citizenship status leaves the country, he must begin the process all over again once he returns to the United States. In some circumstances, if the alien applies for Advance Parole before traveling, his immigration status process will freeze while out of the country and begin again when he returns, exactly where he left off. In order to receive Advance Parole, he must:

  • Have filed an application for adjustment of status without receiving a decision yet, or
  • Hold asylum or refugee status and mean to leave only for a short time to apply for a U.S. Immigrant visa in Canada, and/or
  • Have a bona fide reason or personal emergency which requires temporary travel abroad

Advance Parole is not available for those in the United States illegally or for exchange aliens who are subject to foreign residency requirements. An exchange alien, otherwise known as an exchange visitor, is a non-citizen coming to the United States to participate in certain programs approved by the Secretary of State. These programs can involve teaching or lecturing, conducting research, demonstrating special skills or receiving training.

Can You Travel With Your EAD Card?

An EAD card is also known as an Employment Authorization Document. All employees in the United States must show proof that they are legally allowed to work here. The EAD card is one such form of proof. It has no validity when it comes to travel and crossing the nation's borders.

However, in 2011 the USCIS began offering combo cards that combined an EAD with an Advance Parole. These cards are valid for either one or two years, depending on the alien's status. If an alien had a need to travel outside the country, this form of EAD card would be a valid parole document.

How Long is Advance Parole Valid For?

A general Advance Parole document is valid for up to one year. During that time, the alien can make multiple trips out of and into the United States. This document is renewable, allowing a person to extend its valid life, as long as she applies for renewal at least 120 days before the Advance Parole document expires.


  • Advance Parole is a document that allows certain non-citizens to return to the United States after traveling abroad without endangering their immigration status.