Integrity Legal

3rd Feb 2010

As with any large government agency, errors can occur in processing government documentation. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is not immune to human error and recently the Service issued some advance parole travel documents with incorrect dates. To quote a press release promulgated by the American Immigration Lawyers Association:

“U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS) announced today that it will reissue Advance Parole documents (Form I-512) in response to documents that were mailed to applicants with an incorrect issue date of January 5, 1990. All affected documents have been identified and USCIS will automatically reissue documents to individuals who have received a document with the incorrect issue date.”

It is fortunate that USCIS caught this problem and took steps to remedy the situation. The aforementioned press release went on to say:

“All documents continue to be valid as the expiration dates remain accurate, therefore it is not necessary for applicants to contact USCIS regarding their pending application unless their application is outside the normal processing time of 90 days.”

Again, as USCIS took steps to quick deal with this problem the impact upon prospective immigrants or those with pending visa applications is likely to be blunted.  However, sometimes prospective immigrants or non-immigrants in the United States need to leave the country for an emergency, but do not wish to forfeit their immigration benefits by doing so, this press release went on to detail the steps that immigrants can take to obtain an emergency advance parole travel document:

“If you need to travel urgently and you have received a document with an invalid issue date, then you may travel using the incorrect document. U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) has been alerted however, you may be questioned about the issuance date. Therefore, please print this explanation to share with CBP if necessary.”

For those unfamiliar with the subject of advance parole, it is the legal staus that a prospective immigrant or non-immigrant must obtain in order to leave the USA and return in status. This can be a particularly important issue for those present in the US on a K1 visa or a K3 Visa where the applicant has submitted an application for adjustment of status. Unlike an Immigrant Visa (CR1 or IR1), a K1 fiance visa or a K3 marriage visa requires that the applicant adjust status in order to obtain lawful permanent residence. Although this rarely comes up in the context of a K3 visa, the validity of a K1 visa is of such short duration that the underlying visa usually expires before the adjustment of status is approved. While the application is pending the K1 holder will be allowed to remain in the US, but if they leave before adjusting status they will fall out of status if they do not receive advance parole.

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