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Advance Parole and the K1 Visa in Thailand

By Chaninat & Leeds

What is "Advance Parole"?

If you are a Thai national and K1 fiancee visa holder or applicant, or an American with a Thai fiancée in possession of a K1 visa or are in the process of applying for one, you must both be aware of the issue of Advance Parole. Advance Parole is a document that permits your Thai fiancee to re-enter the United States without requiring them to obtain a new visa upon returning from abroad. It also serves the purpose of maintaining your fiancee's pending “Adjustment of Status” (form I-485) for becoming a permanent resident, such as in the case of a K1 fiancee visa holder. Without obtaining Advance Parole prior to departing the U.S., your Thai fiancee ultimately faces the risk of being denied re-entry (unless they have attained a new visa). If he or she is denied re-entry, they must return to Thailand and repeat the entire K1 visa process.

Unlike a re-entry permit, Advance Parole is only issued to individuals that do not have permanent resident status in the United States. A re-entry permit resembles a passport, while Advance Parole is one sheet of paper that displays your K1 fiancee's photograph. If your Thai fiance has obtained Advance Parole, it is important to remember that they must also present their Thai passport upon entering the U.S., along with the Advance Parole.
Obtaining Advance Parole for a Thai Fiancée

The Thailand K1 fiancee visa holder that wishes to apply for Advance Parole must have the following information and documents in advance:  receipt of their I-485 and receipt notice of the filed application, alien number, full name, full address, their contact phone number, and two photographs. The filing fees for advance parole are currently $305. If you or your Thai fiancee have hired a U.S. immigration lawyer, additional charges will apply. It is recommended that you ask your attorney about attorney’s fees for the advance parole application process.

In most cases, applicants of Advance Parole, or their lawyer, will receive the document directly from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) vial postal mail without an interview being required. Advance Parole is valid for a period of one year from the date of issue, and is issued to the applicant for any personal or business reason.

Consequences of Failing to Apply for Advance Parole

It is imperative to understand that by traveling outside the United States during the period of a pending “Change of Status” or “Adjustment of Status” and not obtaining Advance Parole beforehand, your K1 fiancee may give the USCIS the impression that they have “abandoned” their application to change or adjust their status in the U.S. This is especially important for the K1 Thai fiancee that entered the United States on a K1 visa. For a “Change of Status”, there is the option to reapply for changing the status again, should an alien fail to obtain Advance Parole prior to departing the U.S. However, in the case of aliens that apply for an “Adjustment of Status” to become a permanent resident, as in the case of a K1 fiancee visa, there is no option to reapply after failure to seek Advance Parole. In other words, if your Thai fiancee entered the U.S. on a K1 visa and later departed the U.S. during their “Adjustment of Status” period without first acquiring Advance Parole, his or her “Adjustment of Status” application will be considered “abandoned”, and they cannot reapply for an adjustment later for any reason.
Honeymoon and Vacation "Hot Spots" to Avoid

Canada, Mexico, Guam, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories are not exempted from the Advance Parole requirement. Many couples may think it to be relatively easy to cross the border into Canada or Mexico from the U.S. However, the temptation to do so should be suppressed. It is not recommended that the K1 fiancee visa holder cross any border, whether it is Canada or Mexico. Additionally, if the newly married K1 visa holder and their American spouse are contemplating a honeymoon in popular places such as the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, or Puerto Rico, this is also ill advised. These are not official states of the U.S. The Virgin Islands is a U.S. owned territory, but it is best not to risk losing the visa due to any minor technicalities. In any of these cases, by exiting the U.S., your Thai fiancee risks “abandoning” their “Adjustment of Status” application, being sent back to Thailand, her country of origin, and starting the entire K1 fiancee visa application process again.

If you are a Thai national and have been issued a K1 visa in Thailand, or an American with a Thai fiancée K1 visa holder, you should remain aware of the Advance Parole requirement. If there are any issues with your case regarding travel abroad that you feel may be risky, it is recommended you seek consultation with a US Immigration lawyer in Thailand.

For more Information, please see Thailand K1 Visa

Related Articles:

K1 or K3: Which US Visa is Better for my Thai Girlfriend?  

Financial Requirements for the K1 Fiancée Visa