Can My Wife Leave And Re-Enter The U.S. With Her Visa?

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My wife is currently in the US on a B1/B2 visitor visa. Her I-94 is currently valid. I have filed and submitted forms I-130 and I-485 to USCIS, based on marriage to a US citizen. Although we have not heard back from the USCIS, my wife wishes to go outside the US for a few days next month. She holds a multiple entry visa which expires next year. My question is, because she has a pending application with USCIS, is there an issue with her leaving the US temporarily? Can she leave the US or does she have to remain in the US until her case is adjudicated?

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Although your wife is not technically prohibited from travelling, there are two issues your wife needs to be aware of. The first is that USCIS may interpret her leaving the country as an abandonment of her adjustment of status application. To avoid this, she should fill out an “Advance Parole” form (I-512) with USCIS. This will preserve her application.

The second issue your wife needs to be aware of is that she could technically be denied re-entry. Although it is relatively rare, a non-permanent resident can be denied re-entry, even with a valid visa, for any number of reasons. If there is any issue at all, even from the distant past, she should only leave the country with caution. Once she is a permanent resident, she has more protections and it is much more difficult for her to be excluded at the border.

Although your wife can travel outside of the country, the safest option is to avoid such travel if necessary. An immigration attorney can advise you and your wife as to her particular circumstances and risks to her application and re-entry.

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Author: House Attorney