US Travel Document – Travel Abroad and Preserve Your Right to Re-Enter the United States
If you are a refugee or asylee and have a pending application for permanent resident status, adjustment of status, asylum, or protection, you may need a US travel document. These documents allow you to travel abroad and preserve your right to re-enter the United States.
The US Immigration Service has several types of travel documents available. The most common are passports and arrival/departure records.
What is a US Travel Document
A travel document is an official government-issued identification that lets travelers cross international borders. There are many different types of travel documents, but passports and visas are the most common ones. Generally, they grant more details and freedoms for travelers than regular identification cards do.
Depending on their immigration status, US residents may need to carry special travel documents when traveling abroad and returning to the United States.
For example, green card holders need a reentry permit if they’ve been outside the country for more than one year. They can get one by filing Form I-131 with USCIS and submitting a letter explaining why they need to travel and a reentry plan.
For refugees and asylum seekers, there are travel documents that allow them to leave and reenter the country. Without having to apply for a visa. To get one, they need to submit Form I-131 and provide proof of their refugee or asylum status. And also evidence that they have a legitimate need to travel.
In emergency situations, such as the death of a family member abroad, USCIS will also issue an expedited travel document. To do so, they need to provide a letter explaining the situation and evidence such as death certificates or medical records. There is no additional fee for emergency travel documents. They usually arrive within 150 days of submitting the application.
Which Countries Accept US Travel Documents
The US refugee travel document is a passport substitute for individuals granted asylum and refugees in the United States. The document gives them the freedom to travel to over 145 countries, provided they meet their visa requirements.
Several countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, allow travelers to enter on arrival without a visa. However, it is important to check each country’s specific requirements and restrictions before traveling.
The blue Convention Travel Document is a secure and internationally recognized document that is backed up by the authority of the US government. The majority of countries that accept the document treat it as a visa on entry, similar to a passport. Moreover, the document can be used to re-enter the United States. In case of any emergency or need for assistance abroad.
However, it is important to note that traveling outside of the United States could impact your refugee or asylee status. Re-entry into the United States may require additional evaluation and/or proof of your eligibility to continue your refugee or asylee status.
For this reason, it is important to consult with a refugee or asylee advisor before traveling outside of the United States. For more information, please visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website.
How Much is US Travel Document Fee
The cost of US travel documents varies depending on the type you need. For example, a refugee travel document costs more than a reentry permit. There are also different fees for expedited processing. If you’re unsure of what kind of travel document you need or what the requirements are, it’s best to speak with an immigration attorney for guidance.
The US travel document fee can be paid with a check, money order, or credit card. It should be made out to the Department of Homeland Security and must be submitted along with your application and supporting documentation.
It is important to read the filing instructions carefully. Also, ensure that all necessary documents are included before submitting your US travel document fee.
Once your US travel document is approved, you will receive it by mail. Make sure to check the validity dates and keep it in a safe place. If you need to go abroad again, you can reapply for a new travel document by filling out Form I-131.
However, you must attend your fingerprinting and green card interview appointments before USCIS can issue you a reentry permit. If you are unable to attend, follow the instructions on your USCIS appointment notice to schedule a rescheduling request. If your US travel document is about to expire, you can request an extension by submitting Form I-131.
How Long Does it Take to Get US Travel Documents
Depending on the type of travel document you are applying for, USCIS may take up to 150 days (or longer) to process your application. It is important to note that you can only remain outside the United States for as long as your document remains valid.
It is crucial to apply for a travel document at the same time as you submit your green card application. Even if you don’t have immediate plans to travel abroad.
For refugees and asylees who are waiting for a final decision on their asylum applications, USCIS will grant them advance parole in order to allow them temporary travel abroad while their case is processing.
This is a separate document from a refugee travel document, and it can be used for things like medical appointments or tourism purposes. Advance parole is not a permanent status, so you must apply to have it extended before it expires.