Generally, if someone has applied for lawful permanent resident status, they are not supposed to leave the United States. If such an applicant did leave the U.S., USCIS would most likely conclude that the person had abandoned their adjustment application.
Advance parole is permission granted to an adjustment applicant to leave the U.S. while their I-485 adjustment of status application is pending. Advance parole can be granted to an adjustment applicant who has a "bona fide business or personal reason." Bona fide means a good faith reason for wanting to travel abroad. An applicant does not have to show an emergency or an extreme need to travel to qualify for advance parole.
When advance parole is awarded, it generally lasts one year and can be for multiple trips in and out of the country. We typically file an I-131 Application for Travel Document when we file for adjustment. If an adjustment application is filed along with the I-131, there is no filing fee for the advance parole.
Entering and exiting the U.S. while an adjustment application is pending can be tricky. If you have any sort of criminal history, this is especially true. Working with a top immigration attorney in filing for adjustment and in working through travel issues is a good idea. If you need help, please call us at 314-961-8200 or by completing our contact page.