December 12, 2020

Guide to Advance Parole I-131 Application and Green Card Fees

What happens if you have a pending Adjustment of Status application and you need to travel outside of the U.S?  It is important that you receive an Advance Parole document before leaving the country.  Otherwise, your Adjustment of Status Application will be considered abandoned and it will be denied.

So, if you're wondering how to go about the advance parole process and how much it will add to your green card fees, we have you covered! Learn more about the I-131 document and why you should submit it along with your other green card documents!

Related: Re-Entry Permits: What You Need to Know

What is the Advance Parole I-131 Application?

Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, is the form you complete to request travel authorization, which is called the Advance Parole.   Advance parole gives you the opportunity to travel outside of the U.S. while your Adjustment of Status (AOS) case is pending, even if you do not have a non-immigrant (temporary) visa or it has already expired. You will need an Advance Parole document to re-enter the U.S. and to avoid having your AOS application considered abandoned.  An Advance Parole document is good for one year.  You are also allowed to renew it if necessary, as USCIS often takes more than a year to process an AOS application.  

Who Needs to Apply for Advance Parole I-131?

Arguably, almost everyone who files for Adjustment of Status should also apply for Advance Parole even if you do not plan on traveling or already have a temporary visa that allows travel.  Plans can change and it typically takes several months for USCIS to process an Advance Parole application, so it is not something you can decide to do at the last minute. It is also likely that your non-immigrant visa will expire before your AOS application is processed. However, an Advance Parole document does not guarantee entry into the U.S., so many attorneys advise against foreign travel to anybody who has complicating factors, such as immigration status violations, that could potentially make them inadmissible.  

There are other circumstances where someone might want to file form I-131, including refugees, asylees, permanent residents, DACA recipients, those with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and those seeking humanitarian parole.  

Brudner Law Banner

Why Should You Apply for Advance Parole?

There is little downside to applying for Advance Parole.  Form I-131 is one of the simpler USCIS forms and there is no cost to file it if you do so with your AOS application or it is currently pending.  It allows you to visit your family overseas and travel for work without fear of being denied re-entry to the U.S. and USCIS rejecting your AOS application.  While there is no requirement that you travel, you get the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you can.

Travel Restrictions with Advance Parole I-131

Advance Parole comes with relatively few restrictions. Even if you have a current non-immigrant visa, do not travel outside the U.S. while your Advance Parole application is pending, as USCIS will consider your I-131 to be abandoned and will deny it.  Practically speaking, this makes it very difficult for people who have to travel for work outside of the U.S. frequently, as they might need to travel before their application can be processed.  If you fall into such a category, your best bet is to maintain a non-immigrant visa.

You must return to the U.S. before your Advance Parole document expires.  It is designed with short term travel in mind and you will need to anticipate being in the U.S. for immigration related matters such as your biometrics appointment and Green Card interviews.  You can renew your Advance Parole but apply as early as possible to avoid a gap period where your old document has expired and your new one has not been approved yet.  

Returning to the U.S.


While most people with an Advance Parole document re-enter the U.S. without incident, you should be aware that it does not guarantee entry into the country.  You should reconsider travel if you have reason to believe that you might be turned away at the border.  Some people report that they are questioned more at ports of entry when entering under Advance Parole compared to entering with a visa. Though annoying, this is typical and is not cause for alarm.  Make sure you bring your original Advance Parole document with you, not a copy.  It is your “ticket” into the U.S. and you will not be admitted without it.  

Where to Apply for Advance Parole I-131

Most people submit form I-131 with their Adjustment of Status application, submitting it to the same address.  If you are filing your application later or are renewing your Advance Parole, where you send it will be based on the first three letters of your I-485 receipt number: the Illinois Service Center if your form I-485 receipt number begins with the letters MSC or does not have letters at the beginning, the Texas Service Center if your receipt notice begins with letters EAC or SRC or the Arizona Service Center if your receipt notice begins with LIN or WAC.  You can find those addresses here. You will need to include supporting documentation with your application such as:  

1. A copy of your I-485 receipt notice if you have already submitted it

2. A copy of your I-94, Arrival-Departure Record

3. A copy of your passport

4. Two passport-style photos

5. Documentation verifying your reason for travel – you can submit this if you have it, but USCIS generally will not require this if you are submitting or have a pending AOS application.

If you have an emergency situation where you must travel immediately, you can make an appointment at your local USCIS office to request an expedited document.  You must bring proof of your emergency situation.

Is It Recommended to Travel on Advance Parole?


We recommend using your Advance Parole for emergency travel only. The reason it isn’t recommended to travel outside the U.S while you have a pending Green Card application is that an Advance Parole document is not an absolute guarantee that you will be allowed to enter the U.S. The CBP officer at the border still has the authority to decide if you are admissible to the U.S. Moreover, if your green card is denied while you are abroad you will not be permitted re- enter.

Saving On The Advance Parole Application Fee

The advance parole application comes with a fee. However, you can avoid paying this fee if you submit it in a specific way. 

The easiest way to do this is to submit your advance parole application alongside your initial green card application. Doing so will prevent you from having to pay a fee outside of the fees you are already paying for your green card. You will still need to pay for anything related to your application, like the photos you need to attach to it, but you will not have to pay a fee on top of this. 

The other advantage of submitting the application in this way is that you also get your travel document earlier. This means that if a situation arises that requires you to travel, you already have what you need to get the process started. Just make sure to keep an eye on the document's expiration date and renew it if the date passes. 

Cost and Fees

If you submit your application in this way, you won't have to pay anything outside of the standard greencard price. So, let's look at the price for green card applications to determine how much money you need to set aside. 

Green Card Fees

How much is a green card? The total cost of a family-based green card ends up being $1760 for an applicant within the U.S. and $1200 for an applicant outside of the U.S. 

This total cost comes from a few different sources. The family sponsorship for (I-130) costs $535 and is necessary for both instances. Meanwhile, applicants within the U.S. need to pay $1140 for the green card application form (I-485) and $85 for biometrics. Applicants outside the U.S. must pay $120 for the financial support form (I-864), $325 for state department processing, and $220 for the USCIS immigrant fee. 

On top of this, both types of applications will need to pay a physician for a medical examination. This cost will vary depending on the location and the specific medical facility. It tends to average in at around $200. However, this number could be slightly lower or much higher. 

When it comes to the marriage green card cost or the cost in cases of an immediate relative living in the U.S., these fees are all paid at once. The cost of marriage green card applications and other family-based green cards may generally be more streamlined. However, those in other situations will pay them as part of a larger green card process. Thus, the fees are paid in chunks as the steps in the process play out. 

Other Potential Fees

The previous section dealt with the green card prices that are mandatory. Each green card application will have to deal with those fees. However, there are other potential fees as well. These will be applicable in certain situations. Because of this, they will affect some people, but others will not have to worry about them. 

For one, vaccination fees are sometimes necessary. The medical exam may reveal that you don't have the right vaccinations to enter the U.S. Or, it may reveal that the vaccinations you have are out of date. In either case, you will need to get the right vaccinations to proceed with the process. The cost of these vaccines will vary depending on which vaccines you need, how many you need, and the costs given by the specific provider you choose. 

If translation is necessary at some point in the process, you will need to pay for translation services. When working on your green card application, you may have to submit documents that are not in English. If this is the case, those documents need to be translated by a professional and then certified as accurate by that professional. This cost will also vary depending on how many documents you need to be translated and how much the translation service charges. 

Document fees are another situational issue. The process of applying for a green card requires you to have a number of different documents. These include things ranging from your birth certificate to your passport. You will often have most of these on hand. However, if you don't have access to these documents, they may have been lost or misplaced over time; you will need to get access to them. Most governments will charge you a small fee to have the documents replaced. The total fee depends on how much your specific government charges and how many documents you need. 

Photo fees are one of the most common types of greencard fees. Your green card application will require you to include two photographs of specific dimensions, 2-inch-by-2-inch. In addition, your advance parole application will require similar photographs. Technically, you are allowed to take these photos on your own, which can save you some of the costs. However, going with a professional is typically preferable, as they have the experience necessary to frame the picture correctly and print it afterward. Services like these are also relatively common and typically don't cost that much. 

The entire green card application process will also likely incur some travel expenses. You will have to drive or take public transport to reach your appointments and interviews. You will also need to do this to get to your medical exam and any other additional service you need. While these costs can start to add up, they will not be reimbursed. So, try to plan your travel wisely and get a few things done on one trip, if possible. 

This process will also include some shipping costs. At some point, you are going to have to mail something. This is true for the application itself but may also be true for optional things; for example, you may need to send a letter in order to get your government documents reprinted. Typically, shipping fees aren't too large, so you shouldn't have to set aside too much money for this step.


There is no downside to applying for an Advance Parole document, and it is something good to have even in case you need to travel urgently abroad.

Just make sure to apply for it when you submit your green card application. Doing so will save you money and will ensure you are ready to travel from the very start!

Our Latest Blog

Our Recent Blogs

Navigate Your Future with

Embrace your Future with Brudner Law