I-131 (Travel Permit)


I-131 (Travel Permit)

Form I-131 is used to apply for a
  • Re-entry permit,
  • Advance parole travel document (including for humanitarian reasons),
  • Refugee travel document, or 4) advance permission to travel for CNMI long-term residents.

Advance Parole

Re-Entry Permit

Re-entry permits are needed for green card holders who plan to be absent from the United States for a period of 1 year or more. Normally, an absence outside the United States for a year or more invalidates a green card for abandonment. A reentry permit establishes that you did not intend to abandon status, and it allows you to apply for admission to the United States after traveling abroad for up to 2 years without having to obtain a returning resident visa.

One should file this application well in advance of a planned trip. The I-131 can only be applied for if If one leaves the country while the permit is pending, one can be put into a tough situation if the permit is approved for a shorter period of time than expected or denied. Furthermore, USCIS may need your biometrics (fingerprints). If one leaves before the biometric appointment, then one cannot appear for the appointment and the I-131 will be denied. However, one can indicate on the Form I-131 that you would like USCIS to send your reentry permit to a U.S. Embassy, consulate or a DHS office overseas, so you can pick it up from one of those facilities. One may also get a reentry permit if he/she plans on traveling outside the United States without a passport from a home country. Many countries throughout the world may allow American green card holders to use a reentry permit like a passport—placing necessary visas and entry and exit stamps in the permit. However, be careful if you plan on this course of action. One must be sure to check with the country you plan to visit beforehand to see if that country permits this practice.

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Advance Parole Travel Document

Advance parole allows one to travel back to the United States without having applied or received a visa. Airlines can accept an advance parole document instead of a visa as proof that you are authorized to travel to the United States. However, an advance parole document does not replace a passport and US CBP is technically entitled to still deny entry (although a denial is not a common occurrence).

A popular form of advanced parole is when people file a form I-131 with their application to adjust status. This allows for people to leave and re-enter the United States while their green card is still pending. Without this advanced parole, one would have their pending I-485 application denied. Humanitarian (Advanced) Parole allows an individual who may be inadmissible or otherwise ineligible for admission into the United States to be in the United States for a temporary period for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. If an individual holds one of the following nonimmigrant visa classifications, then advanced parole is not required:

  • An H-1 temporary worker, or H-4 spouse or child of an H-1;
  • An L-1 intracompany transferee, or L-2 spouse or child of an L-1;
  • A K-3 spouse, or K-4 child of a U.S. citizen;
  • A V-1 spouse, or V-2/V-3 child of a lawful permanent resident
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Refugee Travel Document

USCIS issues refugee travel documents to people with refugee or asylum status and to lawful permanent residents who obtained their Green Cards based on their refugee or asylee status.

A refugee travel document is required to return to the United States if:

  • One has refugee or asylee status but is not a green card holder
  • Are a derivative asylee or refugee
Failure to comply with this requirement before leaving the U.S., means one may be unable to re-enter the United States or you may be placed in removal proceedings before an immigration judge. The presence of an advanced parole document can also circumvent the need for a refugee travel document.

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Advance Permission to Travel for CNMI (Northern Mariana Islands) Long-Term Residents

CNMI Long-Term Residents, who are otherwise not permitted to travel to the rest of the United States, can apply for a grant of Advance Permission to Travel for allows them to travel to any other part of the United States for temporary and legitimate purposes without automatically terminating their CNMI long-term resident status.

CNMI long-term residents must obtain advance permission before departing the CNMI to travel to any other part of the United States (including Guam). Any travel in violation of these restrictions will result in the automatic termination of status.

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