Travel Documents from Form I-131: Advance Parole, Reentry Permits, and Refugee Travel Documents

Through Form I-131, an immigrant may receive one of three different kinds of travel documents: an advance parole document, a reentry permit, and a refugee travel document. We will look at each below.

  1. Advance Parole Document

Authorization for Parole of an Alien into the United States, Form I-512L, is a valid reentry document that a noncitizen gets based on advance parole. Advance parole, is a type of parole which the USCIS grants a noncitizen who is traveling to the US without a valid visa, prior to the noncitizen’s arrival at a port of entry.

However, advance parole does not guarantee admission to the US, and the DHS will inspect noncitizens granted advance parole when they arrive at ports of entry. The noncitizen must be admissible when he or she applies for readmission to the US, that is, he or she must not be inadmissible under the grounds for inadmissibility.

Most noncitizens with a pending application for immigration benefit (including change of status) need advance parole to reenter the US after traveling abroad.

Noncitizens applying for advance parole because of a pending application for adjustment of status must obtain advance parole prior to leaving the United States to avoid abandonment and termination of their application. However, this does not apply to applicants for adjustment who maintain a valid H-1 or L-1 status or their dependents who are adjustment applicants.

Leaving the US under a grant of advance parole does not trigger the 3 or 10-year unlawful presence inadmissibility bars.

  1. Reentry Permit

A reentry permit is a valid passport-style reentry document for permanent residents to use for reentry into the US after a trip abroad. Reentry permits may be valid for up to two years.

In some situations, permanent residents may use their green cards as documentation to reenter the US after a temporary trip abroad. Many people assume that the green card will always be sufficient. It is understandable why someone might have this belief. However, if a permanent resident seeks readmission to the US after she has been abroad for more than one year, the green card is insufficient for the permanent resident to get back into the US.

Often, the permanent residents will know in advance of leaving the US that he or she will not be able to return within the next year and will therefore need some form of reentry documentation other than the green card. In this case, the individual can apply to USCIS while still in the US for a reentry permit.

The reentry permit certifies that the permanent resident’s trip abroad has been accepted by the US government as temporary (i.e., he or she is maintaining permanent resident status despite the lengthy absence). As a result, a permanent resident who possesses a valid reentry permit cannot be deemed to have abandoned status based solely on the duration of an absence while the permit is valid.

However, the reentry permit does not guarantee the permanent resident’s readmission to the US The permanent resident still must be admissible when he or she applies for readmission to the US, that is, he or she must not be inadmissible under the grounds for inadmissibility.

  1. Refugee Travel Document

A refugee travel document is a passport-style reentry document, issued by USCIS. The document generally permits asylees to reenter the US after a trip abroad. This = travel document will generally be valid for one year.

The asylee must be admissible when he or she applies for readmission to the US; he or she must not be inadmissible under the relevant grounds for inadmissibility. Only those grounds of inadmissibility that would be grounds for the termination of asylum are applicable to asylees returning to the US with a valid refugee travel document.