Should I Travel Outside of the U.S. While Waiting For a Pending U.S. Green Card Application, if my Visa Expired?

Foreigners who entered the U.S. on any temporary U.S. visa and then filed a green card application (for U.S. lawful permanent or conditional status) are allowed to remain in the U.S. while the application is still pending. Talk to an immigration attorney before submitting a U.S. green card application. While waiting for an application for permanent residence (Form I-485) to be processed, be careful about traveling outside the United States. Just in case permission to travel is not granted before making travel plans an applicant might inadvertently cancel their permanent resident application.

The problem though is that many people misunderstand the procedure and decide to travel outside the U.S. without asking the right questions. This is why it is important to ask an immigration attorney for advice before making travel plans while waiting for a U.S. green card application to be completed.

What Does Having a Pending U.S. Green Card Application Look Like

If a family member or employer started the process for a beneficiary by filing either a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative or Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, that is not enough. A pending or approved petition from a U.S. sponsor does not give anyone the right to enter or live in the U.S. An approval only serves for the petitioner/sponsor to show that there is an existing relationship between the petitioner and beneficiary that states that the petitioner also known as the sponsor wishes to sponsor a person or file on behalf of a person.

No One Has The Right To Stay in the U.S. After Receiving an I-130 or I-140 Approval

Contingent upon the U.S. green card category being applied for, an applicant could face several years of wait time between the time the visa petition was filed with USCIS and when a visa becomes available. This means that an immigration status will be required separately so as to remain in the U.S. legally during the waiting period. Check with an attorney to get the right answers after having received an approval notice.

Unlawfully living in the US. could jeopardize the chances of obtaining a U.S. green card that is still in processing. Staying in the U.S. without a lawful immigration status could lead to deportation.

Very few people are allowed to stay in the U.S. and apply for a U.S. green card in the country. This process is known as an Adjustment of Status (AOS) in which a Form I-485 needs to be completed. After filing the AOS submission a work permit also known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) will be issued which allows the beneficiary to work. It may take a few months before an adjustment of status interview will be scheduled after which you will find out if you will receive a U.S. green card.

See an Immigration Attorney

If your visa expired and you are still in the U.S. and you want to know if you should travel outside of the U.S. or wait for your green card process to be completed, contact your nearest immigration legal representative. An attorney can help you examine your rights and explain the benefits and even risks you may have if you stay in the U.S. Call Gambacorta Law Office today at 847 443 9303 to set up an appointment.