Advance Parole Merged with Employment Authorization

by Blake Forrester March 23, 2011

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) made a major announcement in February 2010 regarding employment authorization cards and advance parole documents. For many applicants in the process of filing Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, the advance parole document allowing travel outside the United States will be eliminated. Instead of the separate document, a notation will be made on the employment authorization card when it is issued.

The new employment authorization document (EAD) looks almost exactly like the old card, but it includes a notation stating that the EAD also serves as document I-512 Advance Parole. The card will be able to be used by the applicant both for work and for international travel. One of the major reasons for the change is because the card is much more durable and more secure than the former paper advance parole document.

The new EAD and advance parole card will be issued when applicants file both Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization and Form I-131 Application for Travel Document concurrently with Form I-485. If advance parole is applied for separately, USCIS will continue to issue the paper advance parole document rather than issuing an entirely new employment authorization card. The new card will continue to be eligible as a List A document on Form I-9. The employment authorization card will satisfy the List A eligibility requirement for I-9 compliance with or without the advance parole notation.

The back of the new EAD card remains the same. It includes the machine-readable zone (MRZ) on the back. It also remains only a temporary work authorization document with a clear expiration date. To legally work in the United States, document-holders must re-verify their status with their employers. To be assured of I-9 compliance, section 3 of the I-9 for re-verification must be completed after the expiration of the card. Alternatively, a new I-9 form can be completed. Employers must also keep a photocopy of the card in their records.

Under current immigration law, applicants who file Form I-485 to adjust their status are not allowed to exit and re-enter the United States. Leaving the country without the advance parole document is considered an act of abandoning the status adjustment in-progress. The new card with the advance parole notation will be requested upon re-entry to the United States and must be provided at the port-of-entry. The advance parole notation, however, does not guarantee entry should there be extenuating circumstances.

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