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American Muslim

AMV Press Release – Oct. 20, 2006

Pending immigration applicants must
 obtain permission before leaving the US

The American Muslim Voice today strongly urged all individuals with pending applications for a change in immigration status who plan to travel outside the United States during the December holiday season to apply for "Advance Parole" by completing Form I-131 as soon as possible.

The AMV Executive Director, Samina Faheem Sundas pointed out that the Advance Parole, which gives individuals with pending applications permission to re-enter the United States, may take up to 120 days for processing. “Therefore, all those with pending immigration applications should apply for the Advance Parole immediately.”

In a press release the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) said USCIS recommends all immigrants with pending applications for adjustment of status check the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov, call customer service at 1-800-375-5283, consult an immigration attorney, or an immigration assistance organization accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals before making any foreign travel plans.

The USCIS said it anticipates an unusually high volume of requests for advance parole and other travel documents this winter, given the occurrence of three major religious observances - Christmas, Hanukkah, and Hajj during the month of December. USCIS urges applicants needing a travel document (Reentry Permit, Refugee Travel Document, or Advance Parole) to file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document (available online at
www.uscis.gov), before the end of October 2006.

If you are applying for renewal of your advance parole document (I-512L or I-512), USCIS will accept and adjudicate a Form I-131 filed up to 120 days before the date your current advance parole expires. If you currently have a valid reentry permit or refugee travel document that will soon expire, you may obtain a new reentry permit or refugee travel document by filing Form I-131 and returning the current document to USCIS. A new Form I-131 may be filed regardless of the expiration date of your current reentry permit or refugee travel document.

USCIS pointed out that:

Individuals requesting advance parole must be approved before leaving the United States. Travel outside of the United States without advance parole may result in serious consequences including being unable to return to the United States and having pending immigration-related applications denied. An asylum applicant who leaves the United States on advance parole and returns to the country of claimed persecution shall be presumed to have abandoned his or her asylum application absent compelling reasons for such return.

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, stipulates that immigrants who depart the United States after being unlawfully present in the United States for certain periods can be barred from admission to lawful permanent resident status, even if they have obtained advance parole. Those immigrants who have been unlawfully present in the United States for more than 180 days, but less than one year are inadmissible for three years; those who have been unlawfully present for a year or more are inadmissible for 10 years. Immigrants who are unlawfully present and depart the U.S. and subsequently re-enter under a grant of parole, may nevertheless be ineligible to adjust their status.