This article aims to answer some frequently asked questions regarding the advance parole document for a DACA recipient. There seems to be a lot of confusion as to what the advance parole document is, what it does, and what its limitations are. We hope this article is helpful in answering those questions and concerns.

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What is advance parole for a DACA recipient?

An advance parole is simply a travel document issued by the USCIS to certain individuals who are authorized to live and work in the United States under the DACA program, which allows them to travel outside the country and re-enter legally. It’s important to note that a current DACA recipient may jeopardize the deferred action protection under the program resulting in the termination of your DACA status if you travel outside the country without first obtaining an advance parole.

How to apply for advance parole for a DACA recipient?

At the time this article is written, the USCIS continues to accept and process advance parole for current DACA recipients. To apply for advance parole, you must currently be a DACA recipient, with an employment authorization document (EAD), and an unexpired passport from the country of your citizenship. You can apply for advance parole by submitting Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, along with a $575 filing fee, and required supporting documents.

You may submit the advance parole application by completing a paper based Form I-131 and mailing it to the correct USCIS office, or online through the USCIS website. Additionally, you may also file the application in person by completing Form I-131, paying the appropriate fees, with the required documents, and submitting it at a USCIS Application Support Center.

What are the requirements to qualify for advance parole under DACA?

An advance parole is a temporary travel authorization afforded by the USCIS to certain non-citizen individuals that enables them to travel outside the country, and re-enter legally after the completion of the trip. A current DACA recipient may apply for advance parole to request permission from the government to legally re-enter after traveling outside the country. However, the purpose of the travel must fall under one of the three categories.

Advance parole for a current DACA recipient may be granted by the USCIS only if such trips are in furtherance of a humanitarian, educational, or employment purpose.

A humanitarian purpose for a current DACA recipient to travel outside the country may include a trip to visit a critically ill relative, attend a funeral service for a family member, receive medical treatment, or assist a family member with a medical emergency.

An educational purpose for a current DACA recipient to travel outside the country may include a trip to attend a study abroad program, participate in a conference or a seminar, or conduct research or a field study as a part of the applicant’s course.

An employment purpose for a current DACA recipient to travel outside the country may include a trip for a job interview, overseas assignments, job-related training, or a professional development program.

What documents do I need to apply for advance parole under DACA?

To successfully apply for advance parole you must make sure all required documents are submitted with your application. This includes a completed Form I-131 with photos and correct filing fees, a copy of your current employment authorization document (EAD), the most recent I-821D approval notice, and documents that support the stated purpose for the visit.

For example, if you are traveling for humanitarian reasons, to visit a critically ill maternal grandfather, you may include an English translation of a doctor’s letter indicating the grandfather’s deteriorating health or his medical condition. Additionally, you must include any English translation of government documents that prove your relationships with him, such as your birth certificate and your mother’s birth certificate.

How long does it take to process an advance parole application for a DACA recipient?

The processing time for an advance parole application depends on several factors such as the caseload and resources of the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), the completeness of your application, and your specific circumstances. It’s difficult to say precisely how long the USCIS may take to process your advance parole application. However, in most cases, it takes anywhere from 11 to 16 months from the time of your application until you receive your Advance Parole Authorization Document, I-512L.

Therefore, it’s recommended to apply for advance parole in advance and as early as possible, to ensure that your application is timely processed so that you can make it to your destination as planned.

Can I expedite the advance parole application as a DACA recipient?

Yes, you may request the USCIS to expedite the adjudication of your advance parole application asking them to process your case ahead of the other application currently in line. USCIS will consider all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis. Some of the reasons to make an expedite request include situations where the normal processing wait time may result in a severe financial loss, an urgent humanitarian crisis such as illness, disability, or a death in the family.

If you are experiencing an extremely urgent situation you may be able to apply for an emergency advance parole at your local USCIS field office by making an InfoPass appointment. Make sure you bring with you a completed and signed Form I-131, correct filing fees, two passport-style photos, and documents supporting the emergency. Please keep in mind that trips involving weddings, holiday parties, or planned events do not qualify as extremely urgent situations.

What are the benefits of traveling with advance parole for a DACA recipient?

First, the advance parole document allows a DACA recipient to temporarily travel outside the country and re-enter legally without the fear of being put in a removal proceeding. This gives the person an opportunity to visit an ailing relative, attend job-related events, or complete a study abroad program and safely return home.

Second, if you are a DACA recipient who entered the country without inspection, you may not be able to adjust your status if an employer or a citizen spouse files an immigration petition on your behalf. In such a situation, you are required to leave the country and process the immigrant visa application at a U.S. consular located in the country of your birth. However, if you are a current DACA recipient who re-entered the U.S. with advance parole after traveling outside the country, you may be able to adjust your status without leaving the country. This is because you now have been inspected and admitted for the purpose of adjustment, therefore curing the initial entry without inspection. Please note that re-entering the country with an advance parole document does not guarantee that you will be allowed to adjust your status. You will still have to satisfy the requirements for the immigration status you are seeking.

Do I need to hire an attorney to apply for advance parole for a DACA recipient?

You do not need to hire an attorney to complete a DACA advance parole application. However, an immigration attorney can use his or her legal expertise to assess your specific situation, make appropriate recommendations, and ensure the application is completely and correctly submitted.

Oklahoma City Immigration Attorney: Immigration Lawyer Serving all Oklahomans

If you need help with your DACA renewal or an advance parole application, please contact the law firm of Vivid Niroula. Mr. Niroula is an immigration attorney based in OKC with a solid understanding of the DACA program and U.S. immigration laws. He takes pride in providing a client-focused service, responds quickly, and charges reasonable fees. If you would like to hire Niroula Law for any immigration matter, please contact us by calling (405) 456-9250 or by filling out the Contact Us Form.