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Combined EAD and Advanced Parole Documents – Maybe not so good

The American Immigration lawyers Association requested an update on USCIS plans to test and issue a combined EAD/Advance Parole (AP) document. AILA understands that USCIS believes a combined EAD/AP document may help further the agency’s goal of increased efficiency and workload reduction. The concern is that the use of such a document by certain individuals will make them subject to the three- and ten-year bars to inadmissibility under INA 212(a)(9)(B)(i)(I) and (II).

The current stand-alone AP document contains warnings on travel by those individuals who may trigger the bars upon departure from the United States. If USCIS moves forward with the issuance of a combined EAD/AP document we strongly urge USCIS to include such warnings on the new combined document. In addition to ensuring that the appropriate warnings are included on any combined EAD/AP document, please find the following additional questions from AILA:
Would an applicant be able to affirmatively request or to opt-out of a combined document and retain the ability to request a stand-alone EAD and AP?

Response: Once the combined card becomes the standard, it will replace the separate documents and an opt-out will not be available.

Does USCIS contemplate creating a separate application form for a combined document?

Response: Initially, separate forms will be required. Ultimately there will be a combined form.

In the past USCIS has indicated that it does not review advance parole applications to determine whether an applicant is eligible to travel outside the United States and return (i.e. trigger the three- and ten- year bars). If stand-alone EADs and APs become obsolete, will USCIS change its policy and begin to review applications to ensure that an applicant can travel and return without triggering the bars on admissibility?
Response: USCIS will not be making this determination in the future.

In addition to the Notice that currently accompanies the approved Advanced Parole document the instructions for Form I-131 and Form I-485 specifically warn applicants of the risk of traveling abroad after accruing unlawful presence. When a combo card is issued, there will be an Advisory Notice included in the envelope.

We anticipate that such combined card will create a lot of confusion, and will encourage aliens that are not eligible to travel to depart the US, subjecting them to the bars.