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Promising News for Foreign Nationals Seeking Adjustment of Status

The words "good news is coming" written in black capital letters on a white flyer stuck to a a street post
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

After being an International Student Advisor at Purdue University for two years, I went to law school to become an immigration attorney to help people get where they wanted to go.

An international student who wanted to go to college in the US.

A foreign IT professional who wanted to contribute their talent to a US consulting firm.

An immigrant family seeking a new life in the US.

Many clients have successfully come to the US and decided they wanted to stay. After assisting them to get here, I’ve happily helped them apply for permanent residence.

In helping them live where they want to, however, I’ve also had to tell them where not to go.

AOS Filers Cannot Travel without Advance Parole

The final phase of the green card application involves an Adjustment of Status (AOS). While their AOS is pending, applicants cannot leave the US without permission, a document called Advance Parole.

If they do leave, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will consider their application abandoned. Years of effort and significant fees would be lost. The AOS filing fee alone is currently $1,225.

Worse, they would need to go through the green card process from the beginning again.

Advance parole can be difficult to obtain. The Trump Administration instituted the requirement and lifted a rule requiring petitions to be processed within 90 days.

Waits have lengthened to 9, 10, 24 months or more for some green card applicants.

When my AOS-applicant clients have asked me if they can travel to their home country or out of the US, I’ve had to say no if their advance parole has not come through.

At best, this is to counsel against a desired vacation.

At worst, I’ve had to advise clients not to visit a dying relative or attend their father’s funeral.

Those were heart-wrenching conversations for me and awful decisions my clients had to make.

Now I have hope that new proposed rules will make those conversations and my clients’ suffering a thing of the past.

DHS Aims to Eliminate Advance Parole

The advance parole requirement never made sense to me. Why would international travel signal an abandonment of a green card application?

It seems the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has finally realized the futility of this policy.

DHS has proposed a new rule to eliminate the advance parole requirement for individuals with pending AOS and to abolish the automatic AOS abandonment for international travel for all applicants not under exclusion, deportation, or removal proceedings.

The USCIS Ombudsman recommended this change in their 2022 report to reduce improper results and frustration and to improve USCIS’s efficiency. Removing the need to process advance parole requests will reduce their workload.

I hope this rule goes into effect. I never want my clients to have to face the horrible choice between traveling home to see a sick relative and not visiting to maintain their AOS status.

DHS Proposes to Reinstate 90-day Processing for Advance Parole and EAD

If complete elimination of advance parole for most green card applicants does not win approval, DHS has proposed at least reinstating the 90-day processing guideline.

Another proposed rule would apply the 90-day processing requirement to employment authorization cards (EADs) as well.

In the past, USCIS issued a single card to reflect the dual advance parole and EAD approvals. When the federal government ended the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency on May 11, 2023, they stopped issuing the joint card.

While the proposed rules would speed up advance parole and EADs processing, please know you now need a separate card for each one as proof of approval.

Proposed Rule to Allow Concurrent Religious Worker Petitions

Religious workers applying for permanent residence got promising news too.

DHS has proposed allowing them to file their AOS applications at the same time their employers file their I-360 visa petitions.

Currently religious workers are required to wait for their visas before applying for AOS. Given the long processing times – often 10-12 months, 24 months in one case I handled – circumstances were jeopardizing religious workers’ status.

The waits were also forcing religious workers to remain with the institution that filed their I-360, even when they saw greater opportunities to help elsewhere.

Each of these proposed rules is reasonable and would eliminate much needless suffering. I hope they will be accepted.

If you have any question about these rules, please contact me at 630-262-1435 or email us at