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U.S. Immigration Fingerprints Abroad

April 25, 2016

U.S. Immigration Fingerprints  Abroad

Author: US Immigration attorney Alena Shautsova

Almost all immigration applications require that an applicant comply with the biometrics requirement and appear for a fingerprinting procedure in the US.  Previously, U.S. Immigration fingerprints were not collected abroad.

This is especially true for such important applications as Re-Entry Permit for lawful permanent residents , Advance Parole and Refugee/Asylee Travel documents. All these applications should be submitted to USCIS using form I-131. After the submission, according to the instructions, the approved documents (that look almost like passports) can be shipped overseas. For example, due to an urgent travel an applicant cannot remain in the US and have to leave before he/she receives the document. In such cases, USCIS can send the document either to the overseas consulate or a specified address abroad. What the instructions do not say is that prior to departure, the applicant must appear for fingerprinting appointment in the US. For years, there was no exception to this rule, and one would miss such an appointment and depart the US, would face significant difficulties coming back as there was no way for the applicant to comply with the biometrics procedure overseas.

Recently, USCIS allowed applicants to comply with the biometrics requirement outside the US. Biometrics collection for certain applications, such as a Form I-131, Application for Reentry Permit, may be taken at a USCIS office abroad, even if the collection was originally scheduled at an ASC office in the United States. This is available to residents of countries where USCIS has an international office. For example, Russia, Germany.

Only those can demonstrate urgent and severe circumstances will be allowed to comply with the procedure overseas. In addition, the applicant would have to demonstrate that he/she tried to expedite or reschedule the fingerprinting appointment.  It means that one who has I-131 pending and has to leave the country urgently, still has to show his/her attempts to comply with the regular procedure.

Examples of urgent circumstances may include: an urgent job assignment, a need to take care of a family member that requires urgency, etc.

The new procedure will help thousands who previously did not have a choice and had to either miss an important presence overseas or forego US immigration benefits or jeopardize their status to comply with U.S. Immigration fingerprints abroad.

 

Travel on Advance Parole Is not “Departure”

April 30, 2013

A person traveling on advance parole may still return to the US without triggering the unlawful presence bars. Citing Matter of Arrabally, the Eleventh Circuit held that the petitioner was not inadmissible under §212(a)(9)(B)(i)(II), because she left the United States pursuant to a grant of advance parole.
Read Post

Can I Travel Outside The US With Advance Parole

December 18, 2012

A holder of the TPS status is allowed to apply for advance parole: a document authorizing the alien to travel abroad and return to the United States.

Section 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) grants the Attorney General authority to parole into the United States aliens seeking admission “on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.” 8 CFR § 212.5(f) authorizes USCIS to grant advance parole to aliens who will travel without a visa, by issuing “an appropriate document authorizing travel.”

The significance of the parole is that if a person entered without inspection, received a TPS or DACA status, traveled on parole and was in fact paroled back to the US, the person is no longer an EWI, and, can adjust status to one of the permanent resident.

Read Post

Advance Parole Must be Asked in Advance

October 13, 2012

Advance Parole is a permission to return to the United States after trip abroad that is issued to a person who cannot obtain a visa or otherwise doesn’t qualify to be admitted to the country.

Advance Parole is typically  applied for by persons with TPS status, pending applications for adjustment of status, and now the DACA beneficiary.

To request an advance parole a person should file an application on form I-131 and wait got biometrics appointment. There is a fee associated with  the filing, which currently is $360.

The situation gets complicated when a person who needs an advance parole has already left the country. Generally, the document has to be filed by a person located in the United States.  It can be filed on behalf of somebody who is overseas, but the applicant should be located in the US. However, practice shows that in urgent circumstances, where severe hardship may result from person’s inability to come to the United States, a field DHS office may consider the request and help the applicant. It must be noted that in this situation, the parole is more likely to be granted as a Humanitarian parole, The situation gets complicated when a person who needs an advance parole has already left the country. Generally, the document has to be filed by a person located in the United States.  It can be filed on behalf of somebody who is overseas, but the applicant should be located in the US. However, practice shows that in urgent circumstances, where severe hardship may result from person’s inability to come to the United States, a field DHS office may consider the request and help the applicant. It must be noted that in this situation, the parole is more likely to be granted as a Humanitarian parole, which can be applied for by a person in or out of the country. To read more about Humanitarian Parole visit the USCIS page  .

If you have immigration concerns, consult a skilled New York immigration lawyer  and find out about your options.
The Law Office of Alena Shautsova is an Immigration law firm serving clients in Brooklyn, New York City, Long Island, Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx and surrounding communities.