Filling Out the I-131 Application For Travel Document

Preparing the I-131

If you are not an American citizen, it may be difficult — if not impossible, for you to reenter the United States after you have been overseas without a proper travel document. You should use Form I-131, Application for Travel Document to obtain a travel document before you leave the United States
TRAVEL DOCUMENT PERMISSION TO REENTRY US - Filling Out the I-131, Application For Travel Document

Who should use this form

If you need to apply for certain travel documents, this is the form you should complete and submit to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Specifically, you should use this form if you need a:

  • Reentry Permit. If you are a lawful permanent resident (you have a Green Card) or a conditional permanent resident (you have a conditional Green Card) and you have been overseas, this type of permit will allow you to apply for admission to the United States upon your return, as long as the permit is valid. If you get a reentry permit, you don’t need a returning resident visa from a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate.
  • Refugee Travel Document. You are eligible to apply for this type of travel document if you are a refugee or asylee with valid status, or if you are lawful permanent resident who got your Green Card while you were an asylee or a refugee in the United States. If you have valid asylee or refugee status, but you do not have a Green Card, you must have this type of travel document to return to the United States after you have been overseas. The only exception to this rule is if you have an Advance Parole Document (see explanation below). You must show your travel document to a Department of Homeland Security(DHS) officer at the U.S. port-of-entry (most likely an airport) when you come back. He or she will then determine whether your are allowed to enter the country.
  • Advance Parole Document for Individuals Who Are Currently in the United States. You can apply for this type of travel document if you are currently in the United States  and you have a pending application for U.S. immigration benefits or change in your nonimmigrant status. If granted by DHS, you can use it instead of a visa for your return to the U.S. from another country, and will allow you to seek re-entry upon your return. Be aware, however, that it is not a replacement for a passport.

How to fill out the Application for Travel Document

Following is a simple line-by-line guide to completing Form I-131. Please note that all applicants must complete the first four parts, and Part 8. You should also complete the section associated with the type of travel document you need. For example, if you are applying for a Refugee Travel Document, you should complete Part 6. If you have someone else complete the form based on information you provide, he or she should complete Part 9. Be sure to type your answers or write them in black ink, and don’t forget to sign the form in the proper place.

The following information is provided as a general guide to completing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, and is not meant to be legal advice. Anyone with questions about travel outside of the U.S. should consult an experienced, knowledgeable immigration attorney before completing this form.

Part 1: 👤 “Information About You”

1a. through 1c. Name
This is where you should put your real name. Do not use any nicknames, aliases and so forth.
2a. through 2i. Physical address
Provide the complete address where you are now living. If you are living at someone else’s house, put their name in Box 2a.
3 through 9. Other information

You probably have an Alien Registration Number or A-Number if you have previously communicated with USCIS or any other U.S. government agency related to immigration. If so, write or type it in Box 3.
The information required for Box 4 and Box 5 is self-explanatory.
In Box 6 “Class of admission”, write or type the relevant information from the visa you last used to enter the United States. For instance, if you initially came here as a visitor on a temporary business visa, write or type “B-1.”

If you are using I-131 to apply for a reentry permit, which means you already have a green card, Class of Admission is asking for the three-letter code representing your immigrant category under which you became a permanent resident.

If you are using I-131 to apply for Advance Parole, which means you are not yet a permanent resident, Class of Admission is asking for your non-immigrant visa you last used to enter the U.S. This is usually, but not always, a two-letter code you get at the port of entry. For example, F1, B2, H1, TN, etc.

If you can’t find the information or aren’t sure what to write here, consult a qualified immigration attorney.
The information required for Box 7 and Box 8 is self-explanatory. However, it is very important that you enter your real date of birth in the proper space. Do not, under any circumstances, put false information on this or any other USCIS form.
It is unlikely that you will have a social security number, but if you do have one, enter it in Box 9.

Part 2. ⚖️ “ Application Type”

1a. through 1f. Select the type of travel document
Mark the box that best explains your circumstances and the type of travel document for which you are applying. Do not mark more than one box.
2a. through 2p. For Advance Parole
You do not need to provide any information here unless you are applying for Advance Parole for someone else who is currently outside of the United States.

Part 3. ⚙️ Processing Information

1 and 2. Length of trip and date of departure
f you know when you are leaving the U.S. and how long you will be gone, enter that information in these boxes. If not, use a general designation, such as “to be determined” or “TBD.”
3a. and 3b. Deportation and removal from the United States
These questions pertain to deportation or removal proceedings. You must answer these questions honestly. Please note, however, that answering “yes” to this question may prevent you from obtaining some travel documents.
4a. through 4c. Information about prior travel documents
If you have ever received a Reentry Permit or a Refugee Travel Document, you must mark the “Yes” box for Box 4a. and provide the requested information.
5. through 10. Alternate addresses
In this section USCIS asking you where to send the travel document. Therefore, it is very important that you mark the correct box and provide a valid address in the space provided if it is different from the one you have provided in another section.

Part 4. ✈️ Information About Your Proposed Travel

1a. Purpose of trip
In this space, explain why you are going overseas. Use an additional piece of paper if you need more room.
1.b. List the countries you intend to visit
This is self-explanatory. Use another sheet of paper if you need more room.

Part 5. ↩️ Complete Only If Applying for a Re-entry Permit

You should only answer these questions if you applying for a Reentry Permit. If you are not applying for this type of travel document, leave this part blank.

1a. through 1f. Length of time spent overseas
Mark the box that best describes the amount of time you have spent outside of the United States (in another country or countries) since you got your Green Card or in the past five years. Be sure to note the instruction, “which ever is less.” This means if you have had your Green Card for 20 years, you should mark the box that best describes the amount of time you have spent abroad in the last five years.
2. Prior tax filings
Here USCIS is asking about the taxes you filed after you got your Green Card. If you have any questions about this, consult a qualified immigration lawyer or financial professional before answering this.

Part 6. 🔁 Complete Only If Applying for a Refugee Travel Document

You should only answer these questions if you are applying for a Refugee Travel Document. If you are not applying for this type of travel document, leave this part blank.

1 through 4c. Refugee or asylee / Country travel
This set of questions is fairly simple. Again, you must be honest. Do not include any false, misleading or inaccurate information on this or any other USCIS application.

 Part 7. ⤴️ Complete Only If Applying for Advance Parole

You should only answer these questions if you are applying for Advance Parole. If you are not applying for this type of travel document, leave this part blank.

1a. and 1b. Number of trips
USCIS wants to know if you need Advance Parole for one trip, or for several trips. Mark the appropriate box. You will not need to answer the rest of these questions if you are applying for Advance Parole for yourself and you are currently in the United States.

 Part 8. 🖋 Signature of Applicant (Read the information on penalties in the Form instructions before completing this Part.)

If you are filing for a Re-entry Permit or Refugee Travel Document, you must be in the United States to file this application.

1a. through 2. Signature and date

This is where you must sign and date the form, and provide your phone number. USCIS will not accept this form if it is not signed.
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Part 9. 📄 Information About Person Who Prepared This Application, If Other Than the Applicant

1. through 6b. Information about the person who filled out this form

If someone else, such as an attorney, completed this form based on the information you provided, they must complete and sign this part in the appropriate space.

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Should I postpone my trip until I actually get my travel document?
The rule is that you must apply for the document while you are still in the United States. It is better if you have your travel document before you leave, but it is not necessary. You can arrange to have it sent to a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate in the country you are traveling to by marking the appropriate box on Form I-131.
Why do I need a Reentry Permit if I have a Green Card?
You only need this type of permit if you are going to be away for longer than one year. It serves as proof that you still intend to live in the United States, which is a requirement for Lawful Permanent Residents.
How long does it take to get a reentry permit approved?
With expedited processing, the total processing time can be anywhere from 2 to 4 months.
How much does it cost to apply for a reentry permit?

Form fee $575If filing for a Reentry Permit for an applicant who is: 14 years of age and older but under 80 years of age;

Form fee $575, If filing for a Reentry Permit for an applicant who is: Under 14 years of age or 80 years of age or older;

$85* – A biometric services fee is required for applicants 14 through 79 years of age.

How long is a Reentry Permit valid?
Two years.
How long does advance parole take to be approved?
It usually takes about two to three months to process an Advance Parole application.
How much does advance parole cost?

Form fee $575, If filing for an Advance Parole Document. Type E and F (Humanitarian parole) 

Form fee $575, If filing for an Advance Parole Document for Dependent Spouse/ Unmarried Minor Children of an Individual Seeking or in the United States Based on Entrepreneur Parole. *A biometric services fee is required for applicants 14 through 79 years of age.

$85 *A biometric services fee is required for applicants 14 through 79 years of age.

No fee is required, If you filed Form I-485 on or after July 30, 2007, and you paid the required Form I-485 application fee

How long is Advance Parole valid?
One year.
How long is a Refugee Travel Document valid?
One year.

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