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15 April 2010

An Advance Parole Reminder

With summer fast approaching, we thought this would be a timely occasion to remind our readers that individuals who fall into certain categories must obtain Advance Parole from USCIS before traveling abroad. This is the case if you have:
  • been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS);
  • a pending application for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident;
  • a pending application for relief under section 203 of the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA 203);
  • a pending asylum application; or
  • a pending application for legalization.
To obtain Advance Parole, individuals must file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. For more information, check out our press release on advance parole from last year.

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51 Comments:

At April 15, 2010 at 1:19:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I applied for Advance parole (based on pending AOS) last month. Still no response from USCIS. Here are my issues:

1) I filed on line. The on-line acknowledge notice and the subsequent receipt notice from USCIS does not say where I should send my supporting docs like photos. I sent the docs any way but no response either. Why do not you give specific instructions for sending photos?

2) Last time when I reenter US with AP, at the Port of entry, the Immigration officer got all of my AP copies and cancelled it. Why? I thought one copy per entry. So If I need to travel again I need to apply for AP (so more revenur for USCIS)? YOu need to train the Immigration officers at POE.

3) After a long flight we need to wait for hours at airport after arrival. Can you streamline this process? Why AP is different from other visa docs?

Thanks.

 
At April 15, 2010 at 7:54:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciate this reminder but may I suggest that the process to obtain one be much faster? For now, at your processing time frame, it could take up to 3 months so if you can cut it down to 1.5 or a month, that would be really appreciated.

 
At April 15, 2010 at 11:35:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a timely post. I just returned from a vacation followed by a business trip using the same advance parole. Upon my return from my business trip, I was under the impression I didn't have to go through secondary screening as my advance parole had the stamp already. I was wrong. I was led to the secondary screening area and spent a good hour waiting to be processed. This is an inconvenience and makes me question the need for this.

 
At April 16, 2010 at 12:42:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Timely post. I echo concerns posted by fellow Immigrants. While its a good thing atleast we can travel back home with AP but there are lots of hassels associated with traveling with AP.

I will put down my experience while coming back last year (and I am traveling again this summer and I am sure I will have to go through this again).

We (myself, wife and my almost 2 years daughter), were returning from vacation.

1. we had to wait almost 45 minutes to get to immigration officer, as we got our turn then we were told to go to secondary screening area. (In Europe and some part of asia, they give priority to person traveling with kids, disable or seniors - but in US, these folks get priority anywhere inside us but not at POE)

2. Collect your luggage (wait time about 30 minutes) - this is usual

3. Go to secondary screening area and wait in line again (I waited for about hour and half) why do we need to go to secondary screening area? This is a big WHY. While I was waiting at secondary screening area (with a almost 2 years daughter), its a pain to have a kid waiting for so long and not allow to move around (thats the rules at secondary screening area - you are not allowed to move around)-- now tell me how is that possible. I could not do that and I let her go around,and then the officer comes to me and shouts at me to keep my daughter with me, the officer was very rude. I grabbed her in my lap forcefully as we she was trying to break away. I was told my the officer to make her sit, so I did not let her loose, then she started to cry, people waiting started to look at me as if I did break a law, the crying process continued for about 15 mins and a lady came to me and asked whats my name and then told me to let her run around, in about 15 mins she called me back and processed our paper and let us go. With a favor from this lady, we waited for hour and half and I wonder what would have been my wait time if that was not the case.

USCIS, please explain why this hassel to us? We already have gone through so much.

1. We have to renew our AP every year, why dont you give us an AP card (like EAD - with validation of 2 years or more), AP processing time is some where between 3 months to 6 months and $305 / per renew.
2. Why cant the immigration office process AP as they do with H1's or GC?
3. Why there is no priority for person traveling with Kids, Disable, Seniors etc ....
4. Officers at POE need more training.

A very simple changes can make so many peoples life a bit better, since we have been waiting to get our GC for years, some for more than decade, a reasonable changes on your policies can impact life of so many immigrants waiting.

We would like to hear whats your reponse on these.

 
At April 16, 2010 at 6:11:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the timely reminder, however as the above posters have mentioned, the process at the POE should be stream lined.

We would like to know the USCIS's reasoning behind requiring us to undergo a secondary screening every time when traveling on AP. If it is required for a first timer traveler using AP, it is OK. However, after the 1st use of AP, undergoing the waiting period of over an hour at times at the secondary screening room, the systems at the primary screening window should be able to display the updated information of the traveler. Hence I do not understand the reason for us to be required to spend an additional hour of waiting everytime after returning from a long flight with small kids.

Another issue encountered at the POE while using AP is lack of the IO's knowledge of the law: While returning from a vacation trip last month with a valid H1B visa stamped on my passport and my spouse carrying his valid EAD card, the IO refused to issue me the I-94 document based on my visa, rather forcing me to enter as a parolee. When we mentioned to them as per our lawyers it is okay for me to continue using my valid H1B visa and my spouse to hold a EAD due to pending AOS application, we were very rudely told by the IO that the law is what they tell us and not what the lawyers say.

We look forward to your responses on these.

Thanks

 
At April 16, 2010 at 9:29:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait to get on AP!!! How lucky are all of you to even have it. I have been waiting 2+ years to file my Green card. Then after all of that to have the chance to file AP, then everytime I fly or drive across the boarder my family and I will be able to experience the secondary inspection. Nothing like a long flight from Europe with your children only to be detained longer because you went on 1 week vacation. Then to add insult to injury we are paying for the liberty to leave the country and re enter. I guess the AP fee's are paying the POE folks salary. Maybe you can create an express line for AP folks. Like EZPASS but APPASS.

 
At April 17, 2010 at 3:44:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Li Ma Chicago said...

Thank you for sharing this reminder, and I am very happy to see a recent speedup on several types of immigration processes.

 
At April 19, 2010 at 1:07:00 AM EDT , Blogger NubianPrincess said...

Why are immigrants treated like criminals while travelling with Advance Parole? If due diligence is done when issuing the AP document why do we have to be screened again. It is annoying after flying for 8 hours or more to be held for an additional 2 hours. An AP document should be equivalent to a visa.

 
At April 20, 2010 at 3:06:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the poster who talked about the rules while in secondary screening I also would like to add that we were also restricted from using our cell phones. As much as I understand security issues, we should have the courtesy to notify our friends and family who are outside waiting for us. I have returned to the US on AP several times now and the wait time can go from 45min to 3 hours. It is only fair for us to be able to contact people outside who are waiting for us and ensure them that we are fine.

 
At April 21, 2010 at 9:47:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now I see why they take so long to process any applications! They just want to make money off these APs. If they actually processed your Green Card or citizenship apps then they couldn't charge you to leave the country on vacation!

 
At April 21, 2010 at 2:22:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Summer travel usually starts in the second week of June. I applied for AP more than a month back and still no reply from USCIS. So if we apply today when we will get the AP? After the schools are reopened again in August

 
At April 21, 2010 at 5:46:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are folks traveling on AP treated like criminals?! Because it is a "parole" The bias lies there in! If a combined EAD and travel permit card is used, like a yellow card [or green card lite!] perhaps the stigma will go away. Some ignorant folks at POE see the word parole, and they think that you are a criminal.

BTW, to the folks who are traveling with babies/toddlers on AP, why not vacation within the country? There are lots of nice family friendly vacation spots within. Travel abroad after GC, by that time the tots will be able to enjoy the long flights and stops etc. too.

 
At April 22, 2010 at 3:42:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is not USCIS that is in charge of the POE processing. It is CBP. If you have issues with the inspection process, you need to go to them, not USCIS.

 
At April 23, 2010 at 1:04:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the poster above suggesting vacationing within the country obviously doesn't have any family outside of the US and has the audacity to suggest where we should or should not go for our vacations. Get Real buddy!

 
At April 23, 2010 at 1:14:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for timely reminder. But who can make timely reminder to the people handling the case make things happen timely? We are clear about where, how and why to apply AP. We are not clear about when we can get it. Cross fingers, no mistake anymore, make the AP to be advance parole not "Awaiting Parole". Thanks

 
At April 23, 2010 at 1:23:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the timely reminder, however I need to ask this question and request the USCIS blog team or the authorities to respond to this.

Why is it that every time we renew our AP, our validity of the approval is reduced by 3 months, which happens to be the processing time mentioned by the USCIS on their website. This is my third AP renewal in as many years, however here is the breakup:

My first AP approval was from Dec 2007 - Dec 2008, however I applied for renewal 3 months in advance ( as per the USCIS timelines) which is Sept 2008. I received my AP approval for the dates Sept 2008 - Sept 2009 (I lost 3 months in overlap). I applied again for renewal 3 months in advance June 2009, and guess what my renewal is from June 2009 - June 2010 (another 3 months of overlap). I am again applying for next renewal and am expecting a 3 month decrease again. So my renewal dates have gone down from Dec to March. So effectively while I am paying for 4 renewals which should equal 4 years I am only getting 3 years worth of AP renewals.

Why is it that USCIS cannot issue us the AP renewals based on our last expiry date ???? This is probably the only document or approval that has this disparity of approval dates. Imagine your auto insurance agency charging you for 3 months of overlap every time you renew your policy.

Is it ignorance or arrogance on the part of the USCIS?

Additionally, we do not see any responses from the USCIS Blog team or their supervisors to comments posted on these blogs. If these blogs are not meant for 2 way communication, then it is a waste of time and resources both yours and ours.

 
At April 24, 2010 at 11:42:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that the EAD renewal applications sent to Phoenix Lock Box facility is taking longer than usual time to get the cheque cashed and the renewals approved. Kindly look into if the process can be accelerated because without EAD renewals many of us ,whose AOS is pending for last 2-3 years, will not be in the payroll and may even lose their jobs. Please look into this matter urgently.

 
At April 24, 2010 at 7:44:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name is Mimi and i live in Seattle. and i just wanted to know why do you make it so hard for immigrants to come to america? and then if they come illegally and its discovered then they get deported or in a lot of trouble. they woulden't have to come here illegally if you just made the immigration process a lot easier . seriously, you make people wait years before they can come here and the process is pretty much brutal. no wonder they come illegally, thats easier than waiting years for a visa. people always say that immigrants will take all of our jobs and thats a lie. because the jobs that illegal immigrants usually have are not good ones, like working in a fast food restaurant. pretty much no americans want those jobs but they take them if thats all they can get. and thats the same for immigrants. would you rather wait years in a different country, dreaming of a better life but knowing its going to take too long to get there, or would you get in a car, go across the border and find the work you can to make your life better? i know which one i would pick. the second one. because to make things better sometimes you have to take risks. and immigrants are brave, both legal and illegal. so hurry up and change something.

 
At April 26, 2010 at 3:24:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

USCIS team,
I-485 can be revised by adding checkmark on this form.
Do you want AP?
Do you want EAD?
Since applicants pay for those applications anyways and those forms ask about the samething such as your address, your status, pictures...
This will reduce paper loads, and saves time, less hassel.
What do you guys think???

 
At April 28, 2010 at 10:44:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. I think it would be very beneficial if the USCIS can issue a 2year AP instead of the current 1year AP. They are already doing this for EAD cards, for people waiting for the visa numbers to be available.

2. I agree with the person who posted about the validity of the AP document starting from the date of approval, rather than the end date of the previously applied and valid AP. On one hand, the USCIS advices us to apply as early as 90 days before the expiration date to make sure that we receive the approvals on time, but shortchanges us by counting the end date of the new document from the date approval. This will thing smells very bad and I think USCIS is gouging money from immigrants..They are not very different from the companies on wall street who have lost sight of the people's issues in their thrist for more & more money.

 
At April 29, 2010 at 3:46:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

im maried to a retierd military how can he help me come legel

 
At April 30, 2010 at 12:04:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have family outside the country. However I will never ever subject my baby to brutal air travel and waiting at POE. I'd rather wait 2 years to take that vacation. BTW, do you know how uncomfortable it is for babies and toddlers to air travel? Some of them experience excruciating pain in the ear drums, when there is sudden change of pressure/height. It is NOT loving and caring to subject helpless babies to non-essential travel.

 
At April 30, 2010 at 11:24:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last summer we spent 7, yes "seven" hours in a second screening at the Miami International Airport.
All Cuban agents working there don't seem to care about hundreds of people there waiting to be processed. I also want to point out that they were several children traveling by themselves companioned by airline personal taking turns to watch them, and they also don’t have a fair treatment.
This situation has to STOP. The legal aliens in this country demand this “abuse” to stop.
We’ve been in the US since 1998. I’m an EB3 Mexico, my PD is in 2006, and the visa availability for EB3 Mexico is “unavailable” right now. My attorney just told me that if the visa bulletin keeps having the same tendency, my GC will arrive sometime in 2017.
I can’t even express the frustration I’m feeling right now. It seems like the AP is a one of the harsh punishments to all of us who are trying to do the right thing in this country. It is ironic the we, as legal immigrants, are getting targeted and mistreated every time we are trying to come back to the US. In the other hand, many of my co-nationals are crossing the border back and forth as they wished, and the government doesn’t do enough effort to stop it.
Is this situation ever going to change? Is there somebody listening to our demands?
One last thing: My H1B expired last month, and even though we already applied for our third AP, my attorney doesn’t recommend me to use it. She said that we might have problems returning to the US without a visa. I appreciate some input in this matter. I REFUSED TO STAY IN THIS COUNTRY WITHOUT GOING TO VISIT MY FAMILY, HIDDEN AS A CRIMINAL BECAUSE I AM NOT ONE.
Is there somebody really listening?
A frustrated legal immigrant.

 
At May 1, 2010 at 3:24:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Card that expires every 2 years ( AP+EAD ) given within 1 month for applying for a GC will solve many of these problems listed about AP.

 
At May 3, 2010 at 2:35:00 PM EDT , Blogger USCIS Blog Team said...

@ Anonymous from April 15, 1:19PM.

To answer your question about where to send supporting documents such as photos when e-filing. Please see this page on our website and this guide on submitting photos.

 
At May 3, 2010 at 11:10:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why call it PAROLE? Am I a criminal?

 
At May 6, 2010 at 11:23:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Combine EAD and AP into one card and issue for 3 years, this is a great idea.

 
At May 15, 2010 at 1:00:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Combine EAD and AP into one card and issue for 3 years, excellent idea but it should be issued within 30 days instead of 3 months .

 
At May 17, 2010 at 9:58:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If only it has been so easy to apply for AP and actually getting them. I applied for my wife base don pending AOS in December 2009. Still waiting for the stupid document. Texas USCIS office is a worst POS, so are most of the USCIS NSC CSR. Their right hand has no idea what of their left hands function.

 
At May 18, 2010 at 11:08:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

when you leave using an advance parole, do they ask for an I-94 at the airport on departure or at arrival or they don't ask for it at all?

 
At May 18, 2010 at 4:09:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife just received her AP but it seems to suggest that one should only travel and be allowed back to the US only if there are humanitarian reasons and/or of public good. This seems to be a very restrictive condition on entry and does not seem to be a free pass. Is my interpretion of the condition of use correct. Please clarify.

 
At May 24, 2010 at 12:04:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had applied for my Advance Parole on 11/8/2009 online. This was my 3rd time applying for Advance Parole, previous two were approved within normal processing time.

This time I waited for 90 days, because before that, they do not entertain your queries or concerns. After that, I went to the local USCIS and they emailed TSC. They send an RFE to submit 2 photos and a copy of drivers license. After submitting that properly with certified mail, they received it and again the case got stalled. Again the customer service does not entertain and tell to wait for 2 months more. After two months called them, they keep on opening service tickets, now tomorrow I am going to the local USCIS. I hope my visit this time is fruitful. It has been 6 months now. Too much to get one year Advance Parole

 
At May 25, 2010 at 7:25:00 PM EDT , Anonymous JoeF said...

"Why call it PAROLE? Am I a criminal?"

Parole has several meanings in the judicial system:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parole
In this case, it is for people being allowed back into the US without a visa under certain circumstances.

 
At May 26, 2010 at 2:11:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure if USCIS is even reading these posts and responding or is it just one of those things which are launched as a teaser for the people who are following regulations to the fullest and still getting penalized for it. Anyways here are my issues

1. I sent for my 3rd AP Parole renewal on April first week. I suddenly had urgent travel because of religious reasons scheduled in June 1st week so I expedited my AP on May 10. The representative told me they would contact me via email within 5 days and if i dont hear from them to call up again. 5 days passed no update so i called and the same thing, they asked me to call up again in 5 days so i did again and its been 3 weeks and yet NO RESPONSE from USCIS. All i wanted to know was my status on the AP as i have urgent travel but for some reason the reprsentatives DONT know or CANT FIGURE OUT the status of a Document within their system (hard to imagine in this country with the vast infrastructure seems USCIS still is doing things in the OLD AGES). Anyways I would recommend at least as a courtesy to follow up on the status' and when people ask for expedited course they are genuine about it and to respect their situation. Hope that USCIS is reviewing these blogs and doing something about it

2. I would certainly use the concept of a 2 year AP document or even a 3 Year AP document moving forward to be used such that we dont have to go through this misery every 9 months (having a baby is easier than this)

 
At July 22, 2010 at 7:07:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kindly process EAD,and AP promptly, and without delay. After all we pay for services in advance. If I am get it right what is being reported is plain, and simple harassment. If this was a private firm just think what rating you would get from the Better Business Bureau.

 
At August 4, 2010 at 4:19:00 PM EDT , Anonymous artie said...

"Why call it PAROLE?" Makes it sound so criminal!

 
At August 26, 2010 at 8:11:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole immigration system is broken. There are 11 million illegal immigrants in the US and the USCIS chooses to harass people like us who have been legally waiting in line for to become lawful permanent residents. Archaic ideas on country limits and caps on visa numbers. Inefficiencies and delays in granting basic immigration benefits like EAD and AP. I have to travel overseas for a business trip and am waiting for an AP for the past 100 days!

The USCIS does not even provide reasonable explanations of the causes of these delays. Applications once submitted are like they have entered a black hole.

I have been in the US since 1998 patiently waiting for my category to become current. And now the USIS has added icing on the cake with these delays that prevent me from working since my EAD expired and leaving the country since my AP has not been approved anymore.

I have gotten to the point where I would rather book a one way ticket to the country of my birth, abandon my house and cars because I dont want to dip into my saving reserves for making house payments and car payments. Take all my savings and live a life of more dignity than endure this endless harassment.

Thanks you USCIS for all the wonderful work!

Regardless, God bless America for all the opportunities that you have given me in the past 12 years. Now the time has come for me to expand my horizon and not be constrained by the bureaucracy anymore.

 
At November 3, 2010 at 12:41:00 AM EDT , Anonymous PatientI485applicant said...

Many AP renewal applications filed around July 12 - 14 are still pending over 90 days. My goodness! What is happening at USCIS?

 
At February 10, 2011 at 8:00:00 PM EST , Anonymous Carmen said...

Even if you don't fall into those categories where obtaining Advance Parole from USCIS is required - international travel becomes more and more complicated. Think of how easy it used to be to cross the border into Canada. Not anymore. Nowadays, you must present a passport for all who travel with you, documents from a non-custodial parent, and what not! A single parent taking a kid to Canada is suspicious. I became so fed-up with it at some point that decided to keep my vacation options in the US. Money better spent at home. God knows we need it! New immigrants will do well to remember about it, too. They are now a part of this country.

 
At March 18, 2011 at 2:30:00 AM EDT , Anonymous juan said...

Thats great that you guys have been providing these services for years. What a huge deal.

 
At March 31, 2011 at 2:41:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Kal said...

I really hope things are better now, my wife and son are coming back and she is travelling on AP, my son is 2nhalf years old and doesnt like to be restricted to 1 place like any other kid.
Really hope all works out well.
But is ther any specific documents besides I-485 copy AP and Passport that she would need. I have given her my paystub copies too. do they ask a dependant to provide my details?

 
At May 16, 2011 at 3:55:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Jayne Keeley said...

THe term parole definitely needs to be dropped. AP should be as long as deemed necessary.

 
At June 20, 2011 at 4:14:00 PM EDT , Anonymous musical instruments for sale said...

Even if you don't fall into those categories where obtaining Advance Parole from USCIS is required - international travel becomes more and more complicated. Think of how easy it used to be to cross the border into Canada. Not anymore. Nowadays, you must present a passport for all who travel with you, documents from a non-custodial parent, and what not! A single parent taking a kid to Canada is suspicious. I became so fed-up with it at some point that decided to keep my vacation options in the US. Money better spent at home. God knows we need it! New immigrants will do well to remember about it, too. They are now a part of this country.

 
At June 20, 2011 at 6:09:00 PM EDT , Anonymous gammon drums said...

I appreciate this reminder but may I suggest that the process to obtain one be much faster? For now, at your processing time frame, it could take up to 3 months so if you can cut it down to 1.5 or a month, that would be really appreciated.

 
At June 20, 2011 at 6:21:00 PM EDT , Anonymous casio digital piano said...

I wish immigration was better handled in South Africa. We have millions of illegal immigrants and no way of repatriating them to their righful countries. It is a disaster

 
At November 3, 2011 at 3:24:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I wish I had Advanced Parole, requested expedited service over 3 weeks ago as my current employer in Canada has advised me that it wasn't able to return to Canada by November 14th they would have no choice but to terminate me. Received an email today from the USCIS today denying expedited AP. "While your situation appears serious, you have not provided evidence of an extreme emergent need." Thank you USCIS, just what the US needs, another unemployed person resident.

 
At January 27, 2012 at 2:49:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work in US with a TN permit, and I filled for a green card 1 month ago, without applying for an AP.

That means that I can't travel until I get my green card, even if my TN is still valid?

 
At March 12, 2012 at 12:10:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

do i need a parole to travel if am in removal proceedings but I have a I-551 STAMP in my passport can i still leave the country and come back in

 
At March 22, 2012 at 8:48:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am trying to find out how long after visiting the USA on a 6 month visa can I return for another visit.

 
At March 28, 2012 at 4:44:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have been refused an AP. Just got the message now from checking my online status. This is my second time as i was granted the first time. i cannot believe that i have been made a prisoner. Not being able to travel is like being put in a cage. i cannot understand why i am restricted cos i am a law abiding person. i have never being this dissapointed.

 
At June 11, 2012 at 1:11:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I failed to answer a very simple question from my kid "Why are we being screened/hassled on returning US while other strange foreigned visitors can pass through POE without any hassle ?"

"I don't know ...", my answer, "proppably we are being punished for being in the country for too long without a permanent resident status and we are paying fee/charges for all paperworks without mentioning the income tax to be treated that way by USCIS ..."

 

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