Form I-131 How to Apply For a Travel Document 2020
Form I-131 Attorney Alexandria VA
If you are a non-US citizen looking to travel outside the country, you are likely aware that you will need special documentation to enable you to do so.
This article will take you through the Form I-131, a travel document required to allow you to travel and re-enter the U.S later on.
Let’s get started.
What is the Form I-131?
The Form I-131 is a travel document issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to non-U.S. citizens before they travel abroad. This document allows for an issue-free return into the states.
Without this, you might be deemed inadmissible upon your return, have your pending residency applications denied, or both.
There are three forms of this travel document dependent on your current status in the U.S.
While this document is usually among the easiest to complete, it has some underlying attachments.
On the face of it, it is supposed to allow you re-entry into the U.S. However, if you have some immigration issues, you might still be denied entry upon your return.
There are other conditions, as well. For example, if you had applied for an adjustment of status, then reentered the U.S. using a visa, instead of an advanced parole document, your petition can be considered as abandoned.
The same applies for when you leave the U.S. and reenter on a non-immigrant visa. H-1 and L-1 visas are, however, exempt from this rule.
Going by this, it’s clear why it’s advisable to have an immigration attorney help you through this process whenever you intend to travel abroad. Any oversights on your part and you could jeopardize your status.
This is required if you have permanent residency in the U.S., but intend to spend a significant amount of time outside the U.S. before returning.
In this case, this form can be used to apply for a re-entry permit.
If you will be away from under a year, you can use your green card to reenter the U.S. If your stay away longer than this without a re-entry permit, then you will be deemed to have abandoned your green card.
This document is typically valid for two years following a successful application.
Refugee Travel Document
For refugees and asylum seekers seeking to travel abroad and return to the U.S., a refugee travel document is a necessity.
This document is also used in place of a passport and is usually granted for a period of one year.
The document must be applied for while you are within the U.S. and is valid for a year. You can travel outside the U.S. multiple times until the document expires.
If you leave without the I-131, you risk being barred from reentering the country and having your status application nullified by an immigration judge.
How to Make an Application for Travel Document
The standing fee for this application is $575, though applicants without the ability to pay can file form 1-912 to request a waiver.
Applicants making this application at the same time they are submitting their green card applications can get the travel document without paying the I-131 fee.
Aside from the application fee, you will need:
- A completed travel application document
- A receipt notice for your adjustment of status
- Two passport photos
- Current address and phone number
- Biographical information (name, gender, date of birth, marital status and so on)
- Any documentation issued to you by USCIS that can give details on your status
Other documents that might be required include:
- Evidence showing
- A copy of your visa page that shows your initial admission into the U.S. or other evidence that you are in the country legally
- A copy of Form 1-797 if USCIS has deferred your case under DACA
USCIS then takes about 3-5 months to process the travel document. Thus, it’s best to make your application as soon as possible whenever you find cause to travel.
For a renew, you will need to submit form I-131, with the current travel document, green card application receipt, and two passport photos.
Again, the processing time will be similar to that of a new application, making it prudent to make the application early.
Protect Your Future
Filling in the form I-131 might seem simple enough for an applicant. This is not always the case. All three applications are known to unearth issues that are often used as grounds to deny applicants readmission into the country.
Simply put, getting this travel document does not guarantee re-entry.
Your best bet is to engage an immigration attorney like Shawn Mughal, who has helped hundreds of clients in Alexandria VA navigate this process.
Protect your future in America; contact Mughal Law firm today.