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Is it Safe for Immigrants to Leave the U.S.?

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Can I leave the United States on advanced parole? Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. A lot of immigrants want to know whether it's safe for them to leave the United States, whether that they've been granted advanced parole, which is permission to leave the United States while your green card case is pending. People want to know, is it safe? I also have people who have an expired visa or need to go overseas to get a stamp in their passport or their visa. And they say, "Jim, is that a safe time for us to travel?"

And we get this a lot in Immigrant Home and we received two questions about it just today in our Immigrant Home answers live show. And the answer to this question is relatively simple. Here's how you need to think about it. If you can afford to be outside of the United States for six or eight or nine months, then by all means, go ahead and travel. But if you can't afford to be outside of the United States for that long, like you'll lose your job or you'll lose your income or you won't be able to take care of your house or whatever or your family members. If you can't afford to be out of the United States for six to nine months, then you should not leave the United States.

And that's for getting a visa stamp, that's for advanced parole. That's for anyone other than a US citizen and a green card holder who are thinking of traveling overseas. The fact is that nobody can predict the future. Nobody knows what's going to happen with the pandemic. Nobody knows if coronavirus is going to get worse, or if the United States is going to close their borders again. We have a new president coming in and while he seems to be a whole lot saner than the prior occupant of the White House, we don't know particularly what his plan is about letting people into the United States.

And so I think that if you're thinking about traveling, that's the question you have to ask yourself, and we use this test all the time. We have people all the time asking us about going to get a visa stamp. And we've just been seeing time and time again, people crying, literally crying when they call our office because they've been stuck outside of the United States for a year or 10 months. This is happening all the time now.

Now, will this continue to happen after Trump leaves office and after we all get vaccinated? I don't know. We'll have to wait and see. But for now, unless you can afford to be outside of the United States for a very long time, for ill-defined time and a long extended time, unless you can afford that, unless your economic situation can sustain that, whether or not you're going to keep that job or be able to pay all your bills.

That's what you need to think about. And so just because you can do something, doesn't mean that you should. Just because the rules might let you leave, doesn't mean you should. And so if you're in that scenario, you really need to think through whether you leave and while the chances of it harming you could be small, again, the consequences are really big.

So hopefully this makes sense. If you have questions, give us a call. (314) 961-8200. You can email us at I just got done doing our Tuesday afternoon live show. So we did the immigration answer show live every Tuesday and Thursday, usually at noon, central time. And you can find us in our Facebook group and on our YouTube channel. And speaking of the YouTube channel, you should go ahead and subscribe. So we'd love to have you in there. We're up to about 27,000 subscribers now. It's been fun watching the channel grow, and we certainly enjoy the live show. So thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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