Law Offices of Stuart J. Reich, PLLC

Practice Limited to Immigration & Nationality Law

11 Broadway, Suite 615
New York, NY 10004

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Can the Foreign National Work and Travel While the Marriage-Based Green Card Case is Pending?

Q: Can the foreign national work and travel while the case is pending?

A: For cases filed entirely in the US, the foreign national will almost always be able to work legally within several months of filing (this of course requires that applications for an Employment Authorization Document be filed for along with the permanent residence application). In fact, if the foreign national was on a non-immigrant visa which permits employment, he or she could work even before receiving these documents.

Travel, however, is a more difficult question.

For a marriage case where the spouse is a U.S. citizen, the Petition for Alien Relative and the Application to Adjust Status to Permanent Residence may be filed together. The filing of the Application to Adjust Status permits the filing of the Application for Employment Authorization Document to permit employment and the Application for Travel Document to permit travel. Both are approved several months after filing.

For individuals who have been maintaining valid status before filing the Application to Adjust Status is filed, this is the end of the analysis - the foreign national spouse can both work and travel once these documents are received. If the foreign national is on a valid L-1 or H-1B non-immigrant visa and has been maintaining status, he or she could even travel before receiving the travel document (known as an Advance Parole).

However, if the person had not been maintaining valid legal status, an examination of the foreign national's circumstances must first be made before leaving is advisable.

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The above is presented for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship with our firm. The information provided should not be used as guidance in pursuing an immigration matter absent consultation with a qualified immigration attorney.