Co-Authored by CATHERINE WADHWANI
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently issued a helpful brochure, “Know Before You Go“. The CBP brochure helps travelers prepare for and anticipate visa issues related to summer travel, reminding international travelers to have valid travel documents and to secure visas where required.
For foreign nationals residing in the US, there are some additional “reminders”. The status of “conditional permanent resident” or “permanent resident” allows a foreign national to enter the US without a US visa stamp. When the foreign national files to have the condition removed, I-751 or I-829, the receipt of that filing usually provides an additional 1-year period of travel and employment authorization.
The non-immigrant visa-holder who has filed an I-485 adjustment application for US permanent residence must wait for the Advance Parole permission in order to travel internationally without nullifying the I-485 adjustment of status filing. USCIS local offices are authorized to grant advance paroles in the event of a true emergency. Certain non-immigrants with H-1/H-4 or L-1/L-2 visas are able to travel internationally without the advance parole and reenter the US using the H-1/H-4 or L-1/L-2 visa in their passports, without jeopardizing their greencard application.
Non-immigrants who need visa stamps in their passports must allow enough time for the issuance of the visa from the Consul. Many people make appointments with Consular posts in Canada or Mexico to process their extensions or changes of visa status. Of course, travel to Canada or Mexico does not guarantee the issuance of the visa, there may be a delay of “administrative processing” if the Consul finds it necessary or denial of the visa application.
International travellers must also check whether a visa is needed to enter a country other than their home country and allow time for processing of that application.
The Department of State provides guidance regarding processing times and protocols for US visa issuance at each US Consulate. Sometimes, a non-immigrant will decide to vacation in the US rather than risk a possible delay in visa issuance, especially if the non-immigrant is between jobs or status—recently, posts in India have been particularly problematical.