Trip Tips: Traveling with Advance Parole through DACA

Berkeley students continue to use advance parole to travel abroad.

If you have decided to travel and received advance parole from USCIS, below are several tips that will help prepare you for the process of going abroad.

If you initially entered the United States without authorization and you are not grandfathered under 245-i, traveling on advance parole can help you fix your immigration status through an immediate relative (U.S. citizen parent, spouse, or child) more easily in the future.

  • Applying for Advance Parole
    • If this is with regards to emergency travel in the next couple months or you have a sick relative abroad that you need to visit for humanitarian reasons, you can apply for advance parole at the local USCIS field office in San Francisco in person. Many Berkeley students have done so successfully in the past by taking their complete, prepared advance parole application and filing fee to the local USCIS office at 444 Washington Street for same-day approval. Infopass appointments are encouraged, and should be made early, in advance of when you plan to go to the local office.
      • For humanitarian travel abroad, a doctor’s note outlining the relative’s health, and proof of relationship to sick relative (birth certificates), or a death certificate if the family member has passed away, is usually required evidence for approval of advance parole. All documents that are not in English need to be translated, and our legal team has the expertise to do this in-house.
      • The local USCIS office has also approved advance parole, in limited cases, for emergency employment-based travel abroad such as work-related conferences. This would require a letter from an employer.
      • The local USCIS office is not approving advance parole for educational reasons at this time due to a national directive. However, if you have already applied for advance parole with USCIS for a study abroad program and have been approved, please contact your attorney with regards to using the approval to travel abroad.
    • Things to take to the USP attorney and to the local field office:
      • Prepared I-131 advance parole application with two passport photos,
      • Filing fee of $575 (check or money order made out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security),
      • Evidence of need to travel abroad, such as doctor’s letter with translations
      • DACA work permit and approval notice,
      • Your current passport, and California ID/driver’s license
    • Be sure to stay within the dates of approved travel on your advance parole document.
    • When applying for advance parole, we suggest that you give yourself a few extra days on either end of your trip to allow for contingencies. Example: If my conference or program goes from December 15, 2016 to January 10, 2017, I may want to apply for advance parole from December 10, 2017 to January 15, 2017.
    • One application for multiple trips. If you have multiple trips planned, you can apply for advance parole for these trips in one application. Example: I have been approved for a research project that involves several trips to one country or visiting multiple countries. I can list all of these country visits in ONE Form I-131 with an explanation for the multiple trips.
  • Leaving the U.S. & Traveling to Your Destination
    • For your travel to country of origin.
      • If you plan to travel to your country of origin, the only document you need for entry is a passport from that country that is valid for six months after the date of travel.
    • For travel to a third country.
      • If you are travelling to a place that is NOT your country of origin, you will need to comply with any visa requirements of that country as they pertain to someone with your nationality and country of citizenship.
    • If you have any questions about the visa requirements, please talk with your attorney:
      • Example: I am a Salvadoran national with DACA travelling to Mexico. I will need a visitor visa required for a Salvadoran to enter Mexico. The best place to look for this information is the consulate website for the destination country, in this case, Mexico.
    • Prepare your re-entry documents. In order to be fully prepared for any questions you may receive from Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), we suggest that you carry with you the following original documents:
      • A passport from your country of origin that is valid for at least six months after the date of travel;
      • Advance parole document;
      • Evidence of reason for trip abroad;
      • Employment authorization card;
      • A copy of your DACA approval notice;
      • State I.D. or driver’s license; and
      • Your attorney’s business card with contact information.

      Make copies of the documents above, keep a set with you, and leave one with someone you trust in the United States in case you lose the originals.

    • Prepare for re-entry questioning. A CBP officer will likely place you in ‘secondary inspection’ and ask questions about your trip abroad and about your residence in the United States when you are re-entering the U.S., such as:
      • What was the reason for your trip abroad?
      • For how long were you gone?
      • What countries did you visit and where did you stay?
      • Where do you reside in the U.S.?
      • What do you do in the United States?
    • You should remain calm, and be prepared to answer these questions and show documents that provide evidentiary support.
    • Be sure to get proof of re-entry.
      • If you are returning to the United States over a land border, be sure that an immigration officer at the port of entry inspects and stamps your passport.
      • This proof of re-entry is evidence that you complied with the terms of your Advance Parole and may also be useful to you in the future if you ever apply for permanent residency through a family member such as a U.S. citizen spouse, parent or child.
      • You can also obtain your proof of lawful entry online

Prerna Lal, Undocumented Student Program, UC Berkeley. Contact us at: plal@ebclc.org