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Adjustment of Status and Registry Applicants Should Double Check Combo Card for Travel Authorization Before Travelling Abroad

Combination employment authorization (EAD) and advance parole (AP) cards are normally concurrently filed with adjustment of status applications and for those adjusting based on registry. These concurrently filed cases (Forms I-765 and I-131) are normally approved at the same time. Consequently, the work authorization card that is issued contains an AP travel authorization notation on the bottom, “SERVES AS I-512 ADVANCE PAROLE,” making it also a travel permit, and thus a “combo card.” Normally, no separate AP document is issued. Recently, however, there have been reports of such cards missing the travel authorization annotation. In response to inquiries, USCIS has advised that it only issues the combo card when it approves a Form I-131 advance parole application at the same time as it approves a Form I-765 employment authorization filed under the “C9 adjustment” or “C16 registry” category. No other category is eligible for a combo card. If the case is in either category, it is possible that the I-131 application will not be adjudicated at the same time as the I-765 application, and thus no combo card will be issued. If that happens, applicants can contact USCIS’s National Customer Service Center, obtain a Service Request Management Tool (SRMT) number and ask the service center to issue a combo card.