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Emergency Travel

Contact a New York City immigration lawyer from our office for information about emergency travel as a non-citizen of the U.S. We’re here to support you.

Legal Help from an Immigration Lawyer in New York

As defined by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), any non-citizen U.S. national, or any other person who is not a U.S. citizen, will be subject to immigration review each time they seek admission into the U.S. from another country. This is true even for persons who have already been admitted to the U.S. as a permanent resident, i.e. persons who have a green card. No matter what your circumstances may be, if you seek re-entry into the U.S. as a non-citizen U.S. national, you will inevitably be subjected to review by an immigration official.

The re-entry protocol detailed above makes it extremely important that all persons who leave the U.S. for an emergency know what will be required of them when seeking admission into the country upon their return. Working with a New York immigration attorney from Pozo Goldstein, LLP, can ensure that you know what documents will be required of you as you attempt to re-enter the country. When you meet with a lawyer at our office, we will also review with you the potential of your departure to negatively impact your application for immigration benefits. Therefore, we urge you to involve our team in your situation prior to leaving the country on an emergency.

What You Need to Know About Emergency Travel Outside the U.S.

As we mentioned above, any non-citizen of the U.S. who leaves the country will then be subject to review by an immigration official upon his or her return. During a review of this nature, if for any reason you are determined to be inadmissible, your re-entry could be denied. This is true even for persons who were previously determined to be admissible to the U.S.

Individuals who seek admission or parole at a port of entry are generally required to have in their possession a valid and current travel document. Travel documents that will be acceptable at this time include green cards, advance parole documents, and U.S. visas. One of these documents must be presented to the officer at the port of entry, and typically, they must be applied for prior to your departure from the U.S.

What is the criteria for expedited processing of an application?

Under certain circumstances, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will allow for an application to be expedited. These circumstances include the following conditions:

  • USCIS error on an original application
  • Severe financial loss felt by a company or individual
  • Humanitarian situation
  • Department of Defense or national interest situation
  • Extreme emergency situation
  • Request from an organization that is a non-profit for the furtherance of both cultural and social interests to the U.S.
  • Compelling interest, as determined by the USCIS

If you wish to have an application expedited, you can request to do so through the National Customer Service Center (NCSC), which can be reached at 1-800-375-5283. We urge you to speak with an attorney from our firm before doing so, however, in order to ensure that your situation truly qualifies you for this type of emergency action.

Documents for Emergency Advance Parole

Situations of extreme urgency could call for the need to visit a local office for the purpose of requesting an emergency advance parole document. In order to ensure that you stand the best chances at receiving the advance parole that you need, be sure to bring with you the following documents at the time of your visit:

  • Completed and signed Form I-131, Application for Travel Document
  • Money to cover the filing fee
  • Supporting evidence of the emergency, i.e. medical documentation, death certificate, etc.
  • Two passport-style photos

Exercise Caution to Ensure that Your Immigration Benefits Aren’t Denied

An immigrant who is currently in the process of adjusting his or her status in the U.S., i.e. applying for a green card, could experience serious consequences if he or she travels outside of the U.S. at this time. Only persons who first receive advance parole before departing from the country will then be able to admissibly return. Therefore, you need to work with an attorney on seeking the proper documentation for leaving the country in order to ensure that you will not be deemed inadmissible upon your return.

Additional cautions should be made by persons who have been admitted to the U.S. as nonimmigrant and have applied to extend their period of nonimmigrant stay. For these persons, as well as any individual who has applied to change to a different nonimmigrant status, will be automatically considered to have abandoned their application in the event that he or she leaves the U.S. before the USCIS has made a decision on the advance parole application. If your current status expires while out of the country, you could be denied admission upon your attempts to re-enter the United States.

We cannot stress enough the importance of obtaining the proper documentation prior to leaving the United States. Even individuals who take care to obtain the appropriate documents before departure are not guaranteed admission back into the country. All such cases will still be subject to inspection or examination by an immigration official at a port of entry, at which time it will be determined whether or not the person in question is admissible. It is also at this time that the subject will be determined as eligible or ineligible for the immigration status that they have sought.

How can unlawful presence status affect my re-entry?

Anyone who departs the United Sates after amassing certain periods of unlawful presence in the country, i.e. time spent in the U.S. illegally, can be barred from admission. Anywhere from three to ten years of inadmissibility could be accrued at this time, depending on the amount of unlawful presence that the individual totaled. Even with an advance parole document, a departure from the U.S. under these circumstances could spark grounds for inadmissibility because of an unlawful presence status. Specifically, the following regulations will be at play:

  • Persons who have accrued more than 180 days but less than 1 year of unlawful presence and who have voluntarily departed the U.S. before the start of their removal proceedings will be inadmissible if they seek re-entry into the country within 3 years from the date of their original departure.
  • Persons who have accrued 1 or more years of unlawful presence and have departed the U.S., regardless of whether or not removal proceedings have begun, will be inadmissible for re-entry into the country within 10 years from the date of their original departure.

File with Help from Pozo Goldstein, LLP

Applying for an emergency travel document requires you to complete the Form I-131, Application for a Travel Document. To ensure that this document is not only complete, but also accompanied by the necessary supporting documents, fees, and photos required, you can work with an immigration attorney from our firm for help. Together, we can complete the process and take immediate action toward helping you leave the country in an emergency without fear of being identified as inadmissible upon your return.

Contact a New York City immigration lawyer from our office for additional information about emergency travel as a non-citizen of the U.S. We are here to support your needs at this time.