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I am in US on H1B visa and my green card application just became current. I haven't done anything after that (e.g. I still need to get vaccinations from USCIS approved doctor and my immigration attorney has not filed i-485, but told me that this is the next thing to do).

Unfortunately, I have emergency back in my home country and I plan to go there in 5 weeks for a total of 3-4 months. Though, I would prefer to get my Green Card as soon as possible before traveling.

Assuming that I go to USCIS approved doctor tomorrow and there is no delay on my side gathering copies of other documents (birth certificate, copies of payrolls etc), then how much time would it take to get past this travel blackout period so that I could safely go back to my home country? Is this something doable in 5 weeks from the state I am in right now?

Would I also need to apply for the Advance Parole? I am not sure that I fully understand its purpose.

P.S. In the mean time I also sent an email to my immigration attorney. Haven't received an answer yet, but based on past interaction with him I think he will say it depends on various factors. So I would like to hear what folks that have went through this process have to say about their timelines.

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Unless you have an Advance Parole, or you have H1b/H4/L1b/L2 status, leaving the US while your Adjustment of Status (I-485) is pending will cause your Adjustment of Status to be automatically abandoned.

For people without H or L status, this basically means that they need to wait until they have Advance Parole (or green card) before they can leave the US. However, since you are in H1b status, you can leave the US without Advance Parole, and your Adjustment of Status will not be abandoned, as long as you return the US with an H1b visa.

Even though you can leave the US and re-enter without Advance Parole, there is no downside to applying for Advance Parole anyway; it's free and you don't have to use it if you get it; but it could be useful if you really need it, e.g. in an unexpected situation where you lose your H1b job or change jobs or something, or your H1b visa expires or is lost and it takes too long to get another H1b visa at the consulate. Advance Parole (which is usually applied together with EAD, which is also free) takes about 90 days to get after applying, so you cannot wait until you need it to apply; you should apply for them together with the I-485.

Note that the I-485 can only be filed when you are in the US. So you must plan for it to be filed either before you leave (and allow enough time for the mail to get there and for USCIS to officially mark it received before you leave) or after you return.

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