Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Traveling with Employment Authorization Document and Advance Parole card

Traveling between United States and India has never been a stressful journey for me until now. This time, I planned to return to United States without a Visa. Don't worry, I was not attempting an illegal entry. I have been issued Advance Parole (AP) and Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card being in the last stage of Green Card process so I decided to enter United States this time on it.

 (Sample EAD-AP Card)
I was a bit nervous and a little confused because of incomplete information about the process as to what documents should I carry, what forms should I fill and what all other things need to be done to enter on EAD. Fortunately, everything went smooth and I was inside United States in no time. Surprisingly, at Chicago Airport, Immigration process took only 5 minutes with only 1 question asked: Who is sponsoring your Green Card and the answer was, my company. Before leaving United States, I remember talking to so many people and reading dozens of forums and articles on Internet that entering United States on EAD and Advance Parole is a stressful process. The Immigration officer checks your card and passport and then takes you to a separate room for further investigation which can take anything from 15 minutes to 3 hours. But for me, luckily, this was not the case. I spent more time standing in the line at Immigration than showing my EAD card and getting through the officer. But, this doesn't necessarily mean that it will be the same case for you or anyone else. It could be the city or the time of entry or perhaps USICS has finally made the process simple and quick, so just keep in mind that entering on EAD can be as smooth as my case or could be exhausting waiting room process.

Anyways, for you all who might still be confused or unsure of what the process is for traveling on EAD, I have tried to pen down everything below. One more thing you need to be very careful of is that not all European countries allow transit on EAD and Advance Parole only. Most of the European countries requires either a valid Visa stamped on passport with which you can re enter United States or you should be a Green Card holder or US Citizen. Flying from Amsterdam doesn't require above condition to be met so if you don't have a valid visa on passport and you are neither US citizen nor Green Card holder but you have valid EAD and Advance Parole card, you can travel. For all other European countries, please apply for Transit Visa at their respective consulate.

Going out of United States
At the time of checking your bag at the airport, show your Passport and last i94 card. Officer at the check in counter will take the i94 card and scan your passport to update the system that you are now out of United States.

Coming back to United States with EAD and Advance Parole Card
You do not need Visa stamping so relax and enjoy your trip with no headache of filling DS160 and taking visa appointment, etc. When flying out of your home country or whichever country you are in to United States, show your EAD and Advance Parole card with your passport at the baggage check in counter. If you have a layover or transit in between, you will have to show the same (EAD and Advance Parole card with passport) there also. In the flight to United States, you only have to fill the Customs Declaration form and nothing else. When at the Immigration counter in United States on your first port of entry, you only need to show your passport and EAD and Advance Parole card to the Immigration Officer. Officer will verify your documents and ask for your right hand's finger prints. Once he has done that, he will stamp your Passport and welcome you back to United States.

I hope this information is helpful to you if you ended up on this page in search of EAD related travel questions.

Happy travels.

1 comment

1 Comments:

Ashish Jain said...

Awesome.. I share similar experience when traveling on EAD/AP. Sounds like ages ago, but its pretty similar to what you experienced. The only difference for me was that I was with my entire family on 2 occasion and had to wait for more than 2 hours before getting the stamp of approval/arrival at the customs. Hopefully others will be encouraged with this travel experience of yours.

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