By Namrata Tuylani and Emily Sumner
Thinking of Traveling?
If you are a foreign national in the US and you're planning a trip abroad for summer vacation, or a visit to family during the holidays, it's critical to consider your strategy for re-entering the US. Here are some tips to consider in light of potential visa processing delays:
- Is your passport valid for at least six months from the date that you intend to return to the US?
- If you will re-enter on a green card as a permanent resident of the US, is the green card still valid?
- If you plan to re-enter on advance parole, is that document valid? If you have a pending I-485 application (or other immigration petition or application), will travel affect that pending case? Check with your lawyer first!
- If you plan to re-enter the US on a visa, is your visa valid? If not, please keep in mind that US consulates are still backlogged, causing significant delays in visa processing times. Thankfully the Department of State has authorized visa interview waivers for many types of visa applications (through the end of 2022). However:
- Not all types of visa applications are eligible.
- The process for the interview waiver application varies depending on the consulate, and changes over time. However, in some cases you must be physically present in that country to request the interview waiver.
- Even if you are eligible for an interview waiver, it may still take weeks or even months to receive the visa stamping.
- If you have the option of re-entering on the advance parole (AP) or a visa, consult with your lawyer to determine the best strategy for your case.
As always, it's a good idea to plan ahead but to also leave room (and patience!) for unexpected delays. Expedited appointment slots are available, but they are very limited. Due to the high volume of requests, consulates cannot accommodate all travelers and by no means guaranteed that your request will be approved. We wish all our clients and friends all the best in their travels for the rest of 2022 and beyond!
As always, the above information is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. Please speak with a qualified immigration lawyer before taking action. If you need help navigating the immigration process with confidence, please contact us today to get the process underway! We are immigration lawyers in Richmond, VA but we serve clients throughout the US and around the world. You can call us at 804-396-3412 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!