Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

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I-485 Approval During International Travel

4 min read
H-1B Visa

The ongoing pandemic has made movement in the monthly visa bulletin even harder to predict than normal. Also, while the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can be painfully slow in adjudicating I-485 approval & applications, some of these applications are unexpectedly approved rather rapidly. This unconventionality has led to a spike in inquiries about what a foreign national ought to do in situations where one’s I-485 is supported while outside the United States.

Key Issues When Priority Dates Become Current | I-485 Approval

Even before the pandemic, it was normal for one’s I-485 to be approved when the candidate is outside the U.S. Before traveling abroad, one should consider choices for reentering if the adjustment-of-status application is approved while out of the United States. Important considerations include the documents required in order to be permitted to board the return flight, as well as the documents and information appropriate for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the airport or other U.S. port of entry (POE).

Traveling With I-485 Pending

The overall principle is, that if an I-485 candidate departs the United States while the application is as yet pending, the I-485 is considered abandoned and should be denied. However, there are a few significant exemptions for this general guideline. If the I-485 candidate is given advance parole (AP) document prior to departing the U.S. Which remains valid through the date the candidate gets back from the overseas trip. The I-485 typically will not be impacted by overseas travel. Similarly, if the I-485 candidate is in valid L-1, L-2, H1B, H-4, K-3, K-4, or V nonimmigrant status. And stays qualified for that status after getting back to the U.S., the I-485 application isn’t considered to be abandoned.

Returning from Overseas Trip After I-485 Approved

If the I-485 is approved while the candidate is outside the U.S. The first hurdle to overcome is usually introducing a valid document to the airline in order to board a U.S.-bound flight. This process normally is the same as it would have been if the I-485 were all the while pending. For example, if the individual has a valid AP document. Then the airline typically will accept this as a valid report for immigration purposes. Or, if the individual was in a qualifying nonimmigrant status, like H1B, after leaving the U.S. The individual can present a valid H1B visa “stamp” and approved H1B petition to board the flight.

Admission to U.S. POE

Upon arrival at the U.S. POE, the AP document or one of the recently talked about qualifying nonimmigrant visas (e.g., H1B, H-4, L-1). It can be presented to the CBP officer to request admission. Yet, if the I-485 candidate knows that his/her green card was approved during the overseas trip. The individual should advise the CBP official of this at the POE.

CBP Procedures for Permanent Residents

If a permanent resident (i.e., “green card” holder) doesn’t have proper proof of that status. As is regularly the situation when a green card is given while the candidate is overseas – the CBP official has a few choices. The official might waive the documentary requirements and allow the person to enter as a permanent resident. On the other hand, the CBP office may “parole” the individual into the United States for purposes of a deferred inspection. Deferred inspection in a case like this means that the individual will be required to get back to a CBP deferred inspection location. At a later time to give documentation of permanent resident status and to complete the POE processing as a permanent resident.

[US Embassy announces new tranche of student visa interview slots]

We have seen cases of CBP officials simply permitting such entry on AP or in H or L status for people. Who obtains the I-485 approval while traveling abroad. This doesn’t change the way that the foreign national has been approved as a permanent resident. S/he should get the green card via the mail following the I-485 approval and should involve using that document for future work and return travel into the United States. Otherwise complying with all requirements applicable to U.S. permanent residents.


The green card process can require numerous years and can be quite confusing. As with various parts of the immigration process, it is important to design in advance. To get proper immigration advice to limit the dangers of delays and different complications. We figure out the numerous complex nuances of U.S. immigration law. And enjoy helping people overcome these hurdles to the satisfaction of the law.

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