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American Bar Association - Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice

Summer 2008

Vol. 4, No. 4

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DHS Final Rule Effective November 1, 2007: I-485 Receipt Notices No Longer Required When Traveling Under the H and L Visas After Filing for Permanent Residence

Now that the holiday travel season is almost upon us, it is worthwhile to remind you that last year the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a Final Rule, effective November 1, 2007, that eliminates the previous requirement that all foreign nationals who travel abroad under their current H or L status must possess an original receipt notice for a filed I-485, Application for Adjustment of Status. Before this Final Rule was published, a pending I-485 application was voided if the applicant traveled abroad without either an approved advance parole (AP) or a valid H (H-1B/H-4) or L (L-1/L-2) visa together with the original receipt notice pertaining to the filing of an application for adjustment of status, upon reentry into the United States.

The Final Rule repeals the I-485 receipt notice requirement and allows applicants in H-1B/H-4 or L-1/L-2 to travel without it, without risking the validity of their pending I-485 applications. The rule was issued in the wake of the mass of I-485 filings in June, July, and August 2007 because many immigrant classes were deemed current, and there was a wave of filed I-485s for which receipts could not be issued timely due to volume. An effort to increase convenience and eliminate unnecessary burdens on foreign nationals traveling, the requirement was lifted because DHS could not guarantee immediate issuance and mailing of receipt notices due to the influx of applications. To avoid problems for applicants in H1B/H-4 or L-1/L-2 status who want or need to travel abroad, this Final Rule was issued to accommodate any immediate and necessary travel by I-485 applicants currently in H or L status.

Neil S. Dornbaum and Kathleen Peregoy are members of Dornbaum & Peregoy LLC Newark, New Jersey. Their practice is limited to immigration and naturalization with special emphasis on employment-based immigration. The firm is listed in Martindale-Hubbell’s “Preeminent Lawyers,” and both members are listed in “Best Lawyers in America.” They also appear in New Jersey Magazine’s listing of “Top Lawyers” for their work in immigration law, and the “Super Lawyers” publications.

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