In a recent announcement, the US Department of Homeland Security has introduced revised guidelines for submitting travel document applications through Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Form I-131, designed for this purpose, It has been updated with an expiration date of 10/31/2025.
Form I-131 addresses various travel requirements, including:
- Re-entry permit:
- Allows lawful permanent residents or conditional permanent residents to apply for admission to the United States upon return from abroad during the validity period of the permit without the need to obtain a returning citizen visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate.
- Travel Document for Refugees:
- It is issued to individuals with valid refugee or asylee status or to lawful permanent residents of the United States who have been granted refugee or asylee status and do not require a returning citizen visa.
- Pre-approval Document:
- Allows persons currently in the United States to enter for a specific purpose. It is not a substitute for the required passport, and the passenger must be cleared at the port of entry.
- Advance Parole for Travel for Long Term Residents of CNMI:
- Allows long-term residents of the CNMI to travel temporarily to other parts of the United States for reasonable cause without automatically losing their long-term resident status in the CNMI.
USCIS insists that each applicant submit a separate application for a travel document. Additionally, it provides specific instructions for each type of document:
- Re-entry permit: Physical presence in the US is required at the time of filing, validity of biometric services varies depending on performance and individual circumstances.
- Travel Document for Refugees: Applicants must apply before leaving the United States, and the document is generally valid for one year.
Failure to obtain a re-entry permit or prolonged absence from the United States without proper documentation by USCIS may be considered relinquishment of lawful permanent resident status, as determined by DHS upon return.
The revised instructions seek to simplify the travel document application process and ensure clarity for applicants seeking to navigate US immigration procedures.
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