Can I travel while waiting for an interview? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. As you know, and as we’ve spoken about on many of these immigration videos, USCIS is taking a really long time to approve cases, to get cases scheduled for interview. And we got a question this week from [Lisa 00:00:22], and Lisa asks, “Can I travel while waiting for my green card interview?” So this question comes up a lot in green card cases and it comes up in citizenship cases and it even comes up in overseas visa cases. Sometimes people will be waiting for an interview overseas, and they’ll want to go visit some other country. And if they have their passport, they should be able to do that.
Now, here’s the thing. With travel restrictions around the globe, I think you want to be very, very careful leaving the United States or leaving your home country. I wouldn’t travel too far or too long. And we always tell people, even in the best of times, that travel while waiting for a benefit, like a green card or citizenship, might not be a good idea because you never know that you might get an interview notice, especially with the mail being so screwed up, of a week or two notice. So that’s going to be a real problem. And that’s something that you need to talk through and make sure that you make a good decision. Because the fact is that if you get an interview notice and you can’t come back, that’s going to delay your case many, many months more. So you really have to ask yourself, “Is it worth the hassle? Is it worth the travel?”
Another thing to think about is what was your status before you filed? If you are on solid immigration status before you filed, I might be more comfortable with you traveling. But if you’re out of status, we often encourage people to wait to travel outside the United States, even with advanced parole, until they get their benefit, until they get their green card. So you really want to think it through. It’s not a decision that you should be making lightly. And my default would be, if you have any doubts about traveling overseas, don’t do it. Just wait. Just wait til you get the benefit and then go, unless you absolutely have to.
The last piece I’ll throw in is that sometimes travel right before you interview triggers extra security checks and that can, again, postpone your interview. They might just say, “Oh, we’re not going to be able to interview you now because we’ve got to do some more investigation.” I’ve seen that happen time and time again. So long and the short of it is if you can avoid traveling, don’t do it. But if you have to, it should be okay as long as you can get back quickly. And of course, if you have an attorney involved, that’s going to be more helpful because they’re going to be able to talk to Immigration hopefully, get your case postponed if absolutely necessary. Of course, you never want to do that.
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