News - November, 2007

New Rule for Travel by Adjusting H and L Visa Holders

USCIS Ends Requirement that H and L Visa Holders who Have Applied for Adjustment of Status Carry Original I-485 Receipt

Effective November 1, 2007, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) no longer requires individuals in H-1, H-4, L-1 or L-2 classification who have applied for adjustment of status to permanent residence (by filing form I-485) to carry their original receipt notice for the I-485 when returning from international travel. The former requirement was part of the regulations allowing nonimmigrants in the H-1, H-4, L-1 or L-2 classifications to return from abroad without advance parole. (For individuals in other classifications, Advance Parole is required for travel during the pendency of the adjustment of status application in order to avoid abandoning the I-485 Application to Adjust Status.) Under the former rule, the H or L nonimmigrant was allowed to travel abroad without advance parole so long as the individual: (1) remained eligible for H or L status; (2) was coming to resume employment with the same employer; (3) was in possession of an H or L visa; and (4) was in possession of the original I-797 receipt notice for the adjustment of status application.

In the new rule, which was published in the November 1, 2007 Federal Register, USCIS acknowledged that when issuance of a receipt notice was delayed the old rule placed H-1, H-4, L-1 and L-2 nonimmigrants "in the difficult position of having to decide whether to cancel a planned trip or risk denial of the adjustment application as a result of the departure."

The new rule means is welcome news for individuals who travel abroad and then reenter in H-1, H-4, L-1 or L-2 nonimmigrant status, as they are no longer required by regulation to carry the original receipt notice (form I-797) issued by USCIS after the filing of the I-485 Application to Adjust Status.


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