Traveling Abroad after DACA

by Richard Bracken on May 27, 2015

Individuals who are recipients of DACA status may, in some circumstances, apply to travel outside the United States by applying for Advance Parole (note travel warnings).  USCIS will grant travel permission in certain “justifiable” circumstances.  In particular, USCIS will grant I-131 Travel Permission to travel abroad if in furtherance of:

  • humanitarian purposes, including travel to obtain medical treatment, attending funeral services for a family member, or visiting an ailing relative;
  • educational purposes, such as semester-abroad programs and academic research, or;
  • employment purposes such as overseas assignments, interviews, conferences or, training, or meetings with clients overseas.

In other words, wanting to go on a travel vacation would not be a valid basis for advance parole.


Before and after advance parole has been granted there are serious issues that need to be reviewed prior to traveling, largely due to the risks of inadmissibility.  In other words, even with advanced parole, the Department of Homeland Security can deny reentry if it determines certain inadmissibilities exists or that re-entry would not “serve the public interest of the United States”.  For these reasons GREAT care should be utilized in seeking travel permission and prior to traveling.  It his HIGHLY advisable to seek counsel from a qualified immigration attorney before attempting to travel abroad in such a manner.


Due to a landmark case in 2012, individuals who successfully travel and return under advanced parole nay no longer be subject to certain adjustment of status prohibitions of Entering Without Inspection (EWI) as they have now been inspected upon reentry (see bottom right corner of redacted I-512L).  In some instances, such as those where a U.S. citizen spouse wishes to petition and adjust the status of the newly returned/paroled spouse, USCIS can grant permanent residency where there are not other issues of admissibility inside the United States.  In such cases, the family bypasses the traditional lengthy, expensive, and exhausting waiver process before a U.S. consulate abroad.  Interested individuals are advised to contact a qualified immigration attorney prior to undertaking any such process.


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I-601A Unlawful Presence Waiver – Eligibility

by Richard Bracken on November 3, 2014

Currently, one of the more common waivers needed to immigrate to the United States is the Unlawful Presence waiver.  It is made necessary when a person is in violation of INA §212(a)(9)(C)(i)(II). This particular waiver is often required for intending immigrants who have lived in the U.S. unlawfully for more than six (6) months, thereby accruing more than six (6) months of “unlawful presence”.  Without the waiver, eligible individuals would be inadmissible for periods of three (3) to ten (10) years.

Prior to 2013, most individuals who needed an unlawful presence waiver were required to leave the U.S. and then await its adjudication while outside the U.S. In the meantime, families were often separated for many months at a time. Occasionally, the initial determination process took a year or more before a decision was finally rendered. Meanwhile, there was no certainty that the waiver would even be granted after such a long wait.
On January 3, 2013, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a final rule allowing for the pre-adjudication in the U.S. of that particular waiver, known as the Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, prior to the immigrant’s departure from the U.S. Essentially, it allows qualifying families to remain together throughout the determination period with the satisfaction of knowing that the critical waiver is granted before they leave the U.S.  Moreover, as will be discussed in a future post, in the unfortunate event that the waiver is denied, an I-601A waiver can often be re-filed.

To date, this final rule has benefited MANY families who are now able to leave the U.S. to attend their immigrant visa interviews overseas without the scary uncertainty of having to await a lengthy waiver determination while separated from their families.  For instance, none of my unlawful-presence-only clients who have attended immigrant visas after the approval of their Provisional Waivers, otherwise known as the I-601A waiver, have been required to remain outside the U.S. for more than two weeks.
Basic eligibility for an I-601A waiver is as follows:

• Presence in the U.S. at the time of filing the I-601A and biometrics collection
• 17 years or older at the time of filing
• Inadmissibility is ONLY for the 3/10 unlawful presence bar
• He or she is an immediate relative and is the beneficiary of an approved I-130 or I-360 petition
• The immigrant relative petition is pending with the State Department and the applicant has paid visa processing fees.
• The immigrant will depart the U.S. to obtain the immigrant visa.
• The immigrant meets the extreme hardship requirements to the U.S. citizen spouse or parent and warrants a favorable exercise of discretion.

In a follow up post I’ll cover some of the more common I-601A ineligibility problems that we’re seeing regarding the I-601A waiver. Please be aware, that the only way to know for certain whether you are a good candidate for an I-601A waiver is by speaking with a licensed immigration attorney.

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Immigration Help for Spouses, Children, or Parents of Veterans and Military Members

November 18, 2013

An unexpected policy change by the Obama administration occurred on November 15, 2013, extending the current policy of granting Parole in Place (PIP) for the spouses of military members to also include the parents and children of not only military service men and women, but veterans as well! Why is Parole in Place significant? It […]

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Deferred Action for “DREAMers”

August 13, 2012

There is currently a great deal of interest in what is being referred to as ‘deferred action’ for dreamers, and rightly so.  The basic principle behind President Obama’s June 15, 2012 announcement is the government’s willingness to provide opportunities for individuals who were brought into the U.S. as children, the opportunity to live relatively normal […]

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Immigration Help for Military Spouses

June 29, 2011

Immigrant spouses of military service men and women sometimes face big obstacles if they have entered the U.S. without a visa and have not been inspected by a border or customs official.  This is commonly referred to as “entry without inspection” (EWI).  Most immigrant spouses of soldiers who have been petitioned for, but who have […]

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Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR)

February 9, 2010

On December 15, 2009, the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009”, or “CIR ASAP” for short, and was introduced in Congress.  Highlights of the bill include an “earned legalization” program for those undocumented immigrants who were physically present in the United States as of December 15, 2009.  Those individuals could […]

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TPS for Haiti

January 20, 2010

In response to the unimaginable devastation that occurred as a result of the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the U.S. government has announced that it will grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to qualified Haitian nationals.  This means that to qualify you do not have to be in a current lawful immigration status to be […]

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Surviving Spouses of U.S. Citizens

January 5, 2010

In the unfortunate event that a U.S. citizen spouse dies before being able to file documentation to legalize their alien spouse, there may be options.  For many years, aliens in this regrettable situation were in a sad form of legal limbo.  In 2009, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued long awaited guidance regarding […]

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Waiver of the K-1 Visa Two-Year Meeting Requirement

November 18, 2009

There is an exception to the two-year meeting requirement in instances where both parties cannot meet because of either extreme hardship or due to a long established custom.  8 C.F.R. §214.2(k)(2). USCIS is granted wide latitude in determining whether to waive the meeting requirement.  Unfortunately, the Immigration and Nationality Act does not offer any concrete guidance regarding when such a waiver […]

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I-751 Removal of Conditions

November 11, 2009

Individuals who have been granted lawful permanent residency through his or her spouse, and within two years of entering the marriage, are usually deemed to be “conditional” permanent residents.   Under the law, conditional permanent residents must follow a comprehensive procedure to have his or her conditional status removed.  Conditional residents who do not comply with the requirements at the end […]

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