Recently we were alerted to some travelers’ experience at the Beijing International Airport: They were denied boarding on their way back to the U.S. because their EAD and AP combo cards were not yet officially recognized by the Beijing Station of Exit and Entry Inspection.
I called the Beijing station (8610-58105400) and a gentleman answering the phone confirmed such policy. He said they were instructed not to allow a traveler to board his/her flight if the sole proof of eligibility for entering the U.S. is the combo EAD/AP card. And in order for them to accept the combo card, the U.S. government must notify China, through official channels, to establish them as valid travel documents.
With the holiday season just around the corner, this is certainly shocking news. Many Chinese nationals may have plans to visit families in China with their EAD/AP card. Also because of recent visa bulletin movement, a large number of people just recently became eligible to file I-485 (along with EAD and AP), and were excited that they could finally visit China after a few years of visa retrogression. Although people could use non-immigrant visas to re-enter the U.S., advance parole (AP) is supposed to be a much easier and safer way for travel.
There is no indication when the Beijing Station will begin to accept EAD/AP combo cards, and there is no published information from either the Chinese or the U.S. government with regard to this issue.
If your trip to China is coming up, you may want to monitor the situation closely. If you’re already in China, contact the U.S. embassy or consulate in your area, or a USCIS local office if available, as soon as possible to seek assistance. Some reported on the internet that other cities in China, such as Shanghai, did accept the combo card. But this could change without notice.
I don’t think this particular issue will last long, but you never know. I’ll update this post as soon as I hear anything. In the mean time, good luck and travel safely.