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FAQs on Maintaining H-1B or L Status while Using Advance Parole (AP) and Employment Authorization Document (EAD) after Filing for Adjustment of Status

Published: 09/15/2023

Are you a temporary H-1B or L worker who has filed for adjustment of status to receive your long-awaited green card? Congratulations! Once you have received your Advance Parole (AP) and Employment Authorization Document (EAD), you are probably puzzled whether you can use these documents without impacting your nonimmigrant H-1B or L status. The frequently asked questions below are designed to clarify the effect of re-entering the U.S. on AP and working on EAD based on pending adjustment of status application for H-1B and L workers.

1. Can I travel outside the U.S. while my I-485 is pending but before receiving AP?
Yes.  You must be in valid H or L status prior to departure and during the duration of your departure. Both H-1B and L are dual intent visas, which means that you can freely travel abroad and re-enter with a valid visa and passport without abandoning your pending green card application or being concerned about conflict of intent upon entering the U.S.  Any travel abroad should be discussed with your immigration attorney prior to your departure.

2. Once I have received my AP and EAD, am I obligated to use them?
No. You can continue working pursuant to your H-1B or L nonimmigrant visa status and traveling on a valid H-1B or L visa. Moreover, the fact that you were granted an EAD card or AP document does not cause your H-1B or L status to terminate.

3. Can I travel on AP? Will there be any impact on my H-1B or L status?
Yes, you may choose to travel on AP.  By traveling on AP you will be considered a “parolee” upon re-entering the U.S. and this should be reflected on your I-94 document issued by US Customs upon your reentry. However, you can continue working pursuant to the terms of the H-1B or L approval notice and continue to extend the status as needed, but you will not be in H-1B or L status again until an H-1B or L extension is approved on your behalf.

4. Can I use EAD for employment? Will there be any impact on my H-1B or L status?
Yes, you can use EAD for employment however this will mean that you are no longer using your H-1B or L status based on your original approval. Rather, you will be considered in an authorized period of stay awaiting final decision on your pending I-485. If you use your pending green card application’s EAD card for employment, you will likely need AP to travel abroad,

5. I recently entered the U.S. on AP. Can I file for my H-1B or L extension?
Yes. You can continue extending your H-1B or L status while your I-485 Application is pending. By filing an extension, you will return to H-1B or L status.

6. I recently entered the U.S. on AP and I am a parolee now. My most recent H-1B approval notice is still valid though. Can I re-gain my H-1B or L status be re-entering the U.S. on a respective visa?
Yes. Entering the U.S. on AP does not invalidate the approved H-1B or L petition. You potentially could regain H-1B or L status by traveling abroad and reentering with a valid H-1B or L visa and obtaining an H-1B or L notation on the I-94. However, you will need a valid AP before leaving the U.S. in order to be deemed to not have abandoned your pending I-485 application.

7. If my spouse and I are planning to maintain our nonimmigrant statuses and travel on valid visas, do we need to apply for AP and EAD at all?
We recommend maintaining valid AP and EAD as backup options in case of emergencies such as urgent travel and inability to obtain a renewed visa stamp, if needed.

8. If my spouse and I are planning to travel on AP and rely on EAD, do we need to maintain our nonimmigrant statuses at all?
There are several advantages to maintaining your nonimmigrant statuses because this approach provides you with an additional layer of immigration status, work authorization, and travel options in case of a green card denial or long pending applications for renewing AP and EAD.

Read More: Mmhpc

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