I-131: Application for Travel Document

What is Form I-131?

Any non-U.S. citizen traveling outside the United States must file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document with the exception of permanent residents.

Immigrant/non-immigrant Visa Holders

  • Foreigners with immigrant or non-immigrant visas must file Form I-131 when traveling outside the United States.
  • Traveling within the United States do not require Form I-131.

Permanent Residents (Green Card Holders)

  • If travel duration is less than 2 years, permanent residents are not required to file Form I-131 when traveling outside the United States.
  • If travel duration is longer than 2 years, permanent residents must file Form I-131 when traveling outside the United States.
  • Traveling within the United States do not require Form I-131.
  • Please note that for Permanent Residents who lose their green card while traveling outside of the United States, they must use Form 131A, Application for Travel Documents (Carrier Documentation) to obtain a reentry permit.

It is important applicants properly submit Form I-131 as failure to file I 131 may prevent the applicant from re-entering the country. When submitting, there are three types of travel documents for applicants:

  • Re-Entry Permit
    • For green card holders who want to be outside of the United states for 1 year or more, they must apply for a re-entry permit in order to return to the country. Typically, a green card is enough to pass through customs back into the United States but only if the departure duration is for 1 year or less. Permit is only available for permanent residents and is valid for 2 years.
  • Refugee Travel Document
    • This is only available for refugees and asylees who want to travel outside of the United States. Since people with refugee or asylum status do not have passports or green cards, they must apply for this travel document to be able to return to the country. The permit is valid for 1 year.
  • Advance Parole 
    • Advance parole grants permission to reenter the United States for people who are adjustment of status applicants who are in transition and do not fall within any specific category of status, U visa holders, and those under a protected status. The permit is valid for 1 year.

 

While the USCIS does not require applicants to wait for approval before leaving the country, applicant should be aware the USCIS may request a fingerprinting appointment (biometrics service). Failing to show up at the appoint may lead to a rejection.

 

What are Form I-131 Instructions?

Filing fee and instructions for Form I-131 vary depending on the application type and age of the applicant.

Application Type AForm FeeBiometric Service FeeTotal Fee
13 or younger$575None$575
14 to 79$575$85$660
80 or older$575None$575

 

Application Type B/CForm FeeBiometric Service FeeTotal Fee
13 or younger$105None$105
14 or 15$105$85$190
16 to 79$135$85$220
80 or older$135None$135

 

Application Type D/E/FForm FeeBiometric Service FeeTotal Fee
Advance Parole – Type D (pending I-Form I-485/I-821
or approved Form I-821D)
$575None$575
Advance Parole – Type E (humanitarian parole)$575None$575
Advance Parole – Type F (humanitarian parole)$575None$575

 

Applicants under certain financial circumstances can file a fee waiver form (I-912) to waive the filing and biometric fees. An example of valid circumstance is an individual living at or below 150% of federal poverty guidelines.
In addition, no additional fee is necessary if the applicant meets one of the following criteria:

  • Filing Form I-131 as Application Type B or D
  • Filed Form I-485 with a fee after July 29, 2007

Status of Form I-485 is still pending