I am in the U.S. legally, on a nonimmigrant work visa and recently married a U.S. citizen. I plan to apply for adjustment of status. However, I promised my parents overseas that I would go spend a couple of months helping them clear out their house in order to move to a retirement community. I have read that, once my adjustment application is filed, I can leave the U.S. only with Advance Parole. But how long does this allow me to stay outside the U.S.? Would two months be too long?
You are correct that you will need to apply for Advance Parole along with your adjustment of status application. This isn’t hard to do—you simply include Form I-131 with the rest of your adjustment packet of forms and documents. By filing everything at the same time, you don’t even need to pay the usual fee.
Don’t leave the U.S. until your Advance Parole document arrives—it will be crucial to keeping your adjustment application alive and in processing while you’re gone. (In other words, leaving the U.S. without Advance Parole would cause U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS to cancel your adjustment application.)
Now, as to how long you can stay away. Advance Parole is normally granted for multiple entries into the U.S. and for the time period required to complete the adjustment of status application, not to exceed one year. This isn’t set out in the law anywhere; it’s a matter of USCIS policy.
So, theoretically, you could stay out of the U.S. for up to a year, making sure to return before the expiration date on your document.
Just be careful about what you might miss while you’re away. USCIS will call you in for biometrics (fingerprint and photo) within a few months after you submit the adjustment application, and for an interview at a local office several weeks after that (the exact timing depends on how backed up with other applications it is).
If you miss one of these appointments without asking for a postponement, you could put your entire application at risk. And even postponing such appointments can delay the process by a long time. You’d be wise to check into the processing times at your local USCIS office before you make your travel plans.