In a startling reversal of policy, USCIS is reverting to an older practice of treating individuals under TPS (Temporary Protected Status) who travel on advance parole as being inspected and admitted upon return for purposes of adjustment of status. This is a positive and very important change that will restore the potential for many TPS individuals to potentially apply for their green cards in the United States. Prior to this change, the government had instituted a harsher policy in line with Matter of Z-R-Z-C, a decision that essentially held that TPS beneficiaries who travel on advance parole and are paroled back were not inspected and admitted for purposes of adjustment of status—a process which requires the applicant to be inspected and/or paroled.
Fortunately, USCIS has acknowledged that the plain meaning of the statute, and the best interpretation of its provisions, warrant construing in its most ordinary sense. Going forward, therefore, individuals with TPS who apply for permission to travel will receive a new travel authorization document which will authorize them to be inspected and admitted into TPS upon return. “Advance parole” will be phased out for TPS and be replaced with this new mechanism. If an individual is inspected and admitted under these conditions, the person will be “present in the United States pursuant to a lawful admission” for purposes of Section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (in other words, adjustment of status). This remains true even if the individual initially entered without inspection prior to receiving TPS. Practically speaking, as an example, this means that an individual who may have entered the US without a visa, subsequently received TPS, becomes the spouse of a US Citizen, and then travels with advance parole permission, may become eligible to file for adjustment of status upon return. (Of course, this presumes that the applicant is otherwise eligible for adjustment: issues that may potentially make an applicant ineligible include having a criminal record, claiming to be a US citizen, or perpetrating a fraud or misrepresentation in connection with immigration benefits, among other things.)
For more information on this new policy, and how it may potentially affect your situation, please contact our office to schedule a confidential consultation.