- General filling tips for Form I-131
- Requirements for Form I-131
- The processing time of the I-131 Form
- Fee and cost of the I-131 Form
- The validity of Travel Authorization through Form I-131
Form I-131 is a travel application that is used to apply for three different documents, such as:
- Re-entry Permit
- Refugee Travel Document
- Advance Parole Travel Document.
1. A Re-entry Permit is issued to a lawful permanent resident or conditional permanent resident who has a Green Card. If you want to travel outside the United States for more than one year, and do not want to lose your status, fill out I-131 and get the Reentry Permit.
2. A Refugee Travel Document is issued to those, who have refugee or asylee status, or to lawful permanent residents who have been granted refugee status or asylee status in the United Statesleavingarticular document allows to leave the US for up to 1 year, retain the status and get back without any obstacles.
3. Apply for an Advance Parole Document to obtain the right to enter the United States for a specified purpose without a visa. The document allows you to seek parole into the country.
Also, this document will be useful if you are applying for reunification with your husband or wife – US citizens, so that you can easily leave the US and return.
Lawful PR apply to the US immigration authorities to get a reentry permit in the case of loss, damage or expiration of the permanent resident card.
A key point is that a person should apply for permission to enter the US at least two months before departure to complete the necessary procedures (filling immigration form, appearing for the biometrics appointment, writing necessary documents, etc.).
Some people advise hiring an immigration lawyer to solve this task. But you can try filling out the form yourself if you use the instructions provided on the official USCIS website. There, you will find the most up-to-date information about US immigrant visas, and a detailed guide on filling out immigration forms on your own.
General filling tips for Form I-131
As already mentioned, people fill out the I-131 form, Application for Travel Document to get a permit to re-enter the US. Among those who apply for a Travel Document, there are asylees and refugees who need to travel outside the US, lawful permanent residents who plan to reside abroad for a long time, and others.
The most important rule of filling out the I-131 form is that you need to be inside the US when applying. Lawful permanent residents, in turn, should still appear for the biometrics appointment before leaving the country. It is recommended to stay in the country until the application is completed in order to avoid possible misunderstandings.
And now let’s go directly to filling of the immigration form, its components, and the main requirements. First, the form consists of several sections, which must be filled:
Part 1 – Information About You
- Family Name
- Physical Address
- Date of Birth
Part 2 – Application Type
- 1.a. – 1.f.
- Family Name (If 1.f. selected)
- Physical Address (If 1.f. selected)
If you file for the Travel Document, make sure you complete all the sections above and sign your form. In case of incorrect filling, the form of the applicant will be immediately rejected.
For legal permanent residents, there are special rules for the use of reentry permit. As we know, those individuals have a permanent resident card, their own travel document to go abroad for a year. And to travel outside the US for more than one year, lawful permanent residents must file Form I-131, which allows them to stay outside the US for two to six years, according to sources.
Requirements for Form I-131
1. Initial Evidence
Your application must include a copy of the official document proving your identity. This can be a passport, driver’s license, permanent resident card, and others. The copy should be color and qualitative, with a clearly distinguishable name and surname, and a photograph.
For example, if you’re applying for a Reentry Permit, you must attach:
- A copy of the front and back of the I-551 form, or a copy of the passport pages to confirm that you are a legal permanent resident;
- Copy of Form I-797, Notice of Action.
Providing you need a Refugee Travel Document, you should provide a document confirming the status of asylee or refugee and the validity of this status.
Regardless of your status, you must attach proof of the reason for traveling abroad, namely the purpose, dates of the trip and the expected duration. There can be many goals to leave the country, for example, educational purposes (participation in the program, study), humanitarian purposes (medical treatment), business and work, tourism, etc.
Within 30 days of the application, you need to make two color photos, on a white background and printed on thin glossy paper.
3. Biometrics Appointment
Candidates for a refugee travel document, as well as individuals, who need to obtain the reentry permit, must confirm their biometric data inside the country before the departure. After applying, you will receive a written notification of the time and place of appointment of the biometric services requirement. If you are between 14 and 79 years old, you have to be fingerprinted and pay an additional $85 for biometric services.
The processing time of the I-131 Form
Usually, USCIS does not set the average processing time for reviewing and accepting Form I-131, so the earlier you submit your application, the sooner it will be approved. But in most cases, you will have to wait for 1 to 3 months.
Fee and cost of the I-131 Form
The state fee depends on the type of document and the age of the person to whom it is being filled. Below is a table of state duties from the official USCIS website (actual for 2016).
The filing fees of the immigration form are $199.
|Under 13 years||$575||$0||$105|
|14 — 79 years||$575||$85||$660|
|More than 80 years||$575||$0||$575|
|Refugee travel document||Form||Fingerprints||Total|
|Under 13 years||$105||$0||$105|
|14 or 15 years||$105||$85||$190|
|More than 80 years||$135||$0||$135|
|Advance parole document||Form||Fingerprints||Total|
|Document for return entry – Type D (Form I-485 pending, Form I-821 pending, or Form I-821D approved)||$575||$0||$575|
|Document for return entry – Type E (humanitarian parole)||$575||$0||$575|
|Document for return entry – Type F (humanitarian parole)||$575||$0||$575|
The validity of Travel Authorization through Form I-131
The duration of the travel authorization depends on the type of document:
- A Reentry Permit issued to a lawful permanent resident is valid for 2 years from the date of issue.
- The Refugee Travel Document is valid for only 1 year.
- An Advance Parole Travel Document is valid for 1 year too.