What is Advance Parole?
Advance Parole is the right of an alien to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad. They must be approved for Advance Parole before leaving the United States. If they did not obtain Advance Parole prior to leaving the United States, then they will not be allowed to re-enter the country until they re-apply for a new visa.
Does my Thai fiancé need to obtain Advance Parole if she wants to return to Thailand?
The short answer is yes. If your Thai fiancé has entered the US and wishes to travel back to Thailand, then she will need to obtain advance parole. Otherwise, her K-1 visa will be deemed abandoned and the process will start all over. In order to obtain advance parole your fiancé can file for a travel document when she files for adjustment of status. If she has already filed for adjustment of status, then she can file for advance parole at any time.
Does my Thai spouse need to obtain Advance Parole if she wants to return to Thailand?
The K-3 and CR-1 are multiple entry visas. Spouses with a K-3 or CR-1 may leave the United States and return using the same visa. They do not need to obtain an "advance parole" travel document to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad.
What about my honeymoon with my Thai fiancé?
After your fiancé has entered the United States and the marriage has taken place the first thing on most couples' agenda is the honeymoon. It is advisable that you and your fiancé stay in the United States.
You should NOT leave the country if your fiancé has not obtained an advance parole travel document. Popular honeymoon destinations like the Bahamas and Canadian Niagara Falls should not be visited because once your fiancé enters another country she will have abandoned her visa and not be able to legally re-enter the United States.
This is of particular concern for couples who wish to visit Canada. The border between Canada and the US is notoriously porous and it is very easy to cross into Canada and come back with out receiving any Passport stamps. It is inadvisable for your fiancé to try to slip into Canada and back without a travel document because even if it is not immediately discovered a later discovery could be construed as abandonment.
What if we decide to honeymoon in the US, do we need to obtain advance parole before doing so?
It is not advisable for a K-1 visa holder to travel to any US possession that is not an actual US state: this includes the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The law is somewhat murky with regard to this question, but we advise not taking the risk. The U.S. Virgin Islands, although a U.S. possession, are not part of the contiguous United States and are, in fact, territories. More importantly, since 9/11 travelers to this destination must pass through customs and immigration upon arrival. Even though the U.S. Virgin Islands are U.S. possessions, this opens the K-1 visa holder up the possibility that USCIS might construe a vacation to the U.S.V.I. as abandonment of the K-1 visa.
As for Puerto Rico, it is even more likely that the USCIS will find a trip to Puerto Rico to constitute abandonment of the K-1 visa. Puerto Rico is not technically a U.S. possession but instead a separate semi-autonomous state in perpetual "union" with the United States. Since 9/11, visitors entering and departing Puerto Rico must pass through customs and immigration. Visiting Puerto Rico without obtaining advance parole could be construed as abandonment of the K-1 visa.
We, at Siam Legal, do not advise a K-1 holder to travel outside of the United States or to any outlying US possessions without first obtaining an advance parole travel document.
Traveling abroad on a K-1 visa can be a tricky proposition once your Thai fiancé has entered the US. Any travel abroad that occurs before your fiancé has adjusted her status could result in the USCIS deeming her visa abandoned and the process must start again from square one. It is necessary to obtain advance parole and this can be a confusing and difficult undertaking. By having this process handled by experienced professionals the advance parole process can be swift and stress-free.
We, at Siam Legal, have a proven track record obtaining advance parole travel documents. Let Siam Legal help you expedite this advance parole process quickly and professionally.