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Advance Parole, Reentry Permit, and Refugee Travel Documentation for Returning Aliens Residing in the U.S


Q:What is a Travel Document and Who Needs One?
A:If you are not a U.S. citizen, you may need permission to return to the United States after traveling abroad. This permission is granted through a travel document. Travel documents are also given to people who want to travel, but cannot get a passport from their country of nationality. See Advance Parole, Reentry Permit, and Refugee Travel for more information.
Q:Where Can I Find the Law?
A:The legal foundation for requiring these travel documents comes from the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). INA § 211 discusses documents required to admit aliens and control their travel. INA § 212 states that any immigrant who does not have the correct travel documents will not be admitted to the United States.

The specific eligibility requirements for travel documents are found in Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). 8 CFR § 223 describes the purpose, processing, and validity and effect on admissibility of all three documents.

How to File
The alien must file Form I-131, Application for a Travel Document, complete with supporting documentation, photos and applicable fees. This form can be downloaded from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' (USCIS) website. See the application for specific filing instructions.

How to File For a Re-Entry Permit
If the alien is a permanent resident or conditional resident, he or she must attach:

  • A copy of the alien registration receipt card; or
  • If he has not yet received his alien registration receipt card, a copy of the biographic page of his passport and the page of his passport indicating initial admission as a permanent resident, or other evidence that the alien is a permanent resident; or
  • A copy of the approval notice of a separate application for replacement of the alien registration receipt card or temporary evidence of permanent resident status.

How to File For Advance Parole
An alien in the United States and applying for an Advance Parole document for him or herself must attach:

  • A copy of any document issued to the alien by DHS showing present status in the United States;
  • An explanation or other evidence demonstrating the circumstances that warrant issuance of Advance Parole.
  • If the alien is basing his or her eligibility for Advance Parole on a separate application for adjustment of status or asylum, he must also attach a copy of the filing receipt for that application.
  • If the alien is traveling to Canada to apply for an immigrant visa, he or she must also attach a copy of the consular appointment.

How to File For a Refugee Travel Document
If the alien is a refugee or asylee applying for a refugee travel document, he or she must attach:

  • A copy of the document issued by DHS showing the alien's refugee or asylee status and indicating the expiration of such status.

Where to File
Where to file the Form I-131 depends upon the benefit sought. See the form instruction page for details.

When to File
The alien must apply for the travel document before leaving the United States. Failure to do so may cause the alien to lose permission to re-enter the country, and lead to the denial of any other applications.

Q:How Can I Find Out the Status of My Application?
A:To check the status of your application, please contact the USCIS office that received your application. You should be prepared to provide the USCIS staff with specific information about your application. Please click here for complete instructions on checking the status of your application. Please click here for more information on USCIS field offices.
Q:How Can I Appeal?
A:If your application for a reentry permit or refugee travel document is denied, the denial letter will tell you how to appeal. Generally, you may appeal within 33 days of receiving the denial. Your appeal must be filed on Form I-290B. The appeal must be filed with the office that made the original decision. After your appeal form and a required fee are processed, the appeal will be referred to the Administrative Appeals Unit (AAU) in Washington, DC. (Sending the appeal and fee directly to the AAU will delay the process.)

If your application for advance parole is denied, you will receive a letter that will tell you why the application was denied. You will not be allowed to appeal a negative decision to a higher authority. However, you may submit a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider with the office that made the unfavorable decision. By filing these motions, you may ask the office to reexamine or reconsider their decision. A motion to reopen must state the new facts that are to be provided in the reopened proceeding and must be accompanied by affidavits or other documentary evidence. A motion to reconsider must establish that the decision was based on an incorrect application of law or USCIS policy, and further establish that the decision was incorrect based on the evidence in the file at the time the decision was made. For more information, please see How Do I Appeal the Denial of Petition or Application?.

Q:Can Anyone Help Me?
A:If advice is needed, you may contact the USCIS District Office near your home for a list of community-based, non-profit organizations that may be able to assist you in applying for an immigration benefit. Please see the USCIS field offices home page for more information on contacting USCIS offices.


Last modified: 
August 6, 2018