When Are Travel Documents Required?

U.S. travel documents allow nonimmigrants and permanent residents to re-enter the country after traveling abroad. Before you leave the country, you should check if a travel document is required to reenter.

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Who Is Required To Have a Travel Document?

Both nonimmigrants (temporary visa holders) and permanent residents (green card holders) may be required to have a travel document. There are three types of travels documents:

  • Reentry Permit
  • Refugee Travel Document
  • Advance Parole Document

You can apply for all travel documents with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I-131, Application for Travel Document.

Reentry Permit

A Reentry Permit is a travel document for U.S. permanent residents or conditional permanent residents who are traveling abroad for 1 year or more. You’ll want to obtain your travel document before leaving the U.S.

It’s very important that you get a travel document in this situation. Being abroad for more than 1 year without advance permission could cause you to lose your permanent resident status.

Generally, travel documents are not required for permanent residents who will be outside the U.S. for less than 1 year.

Refugee Travel Document

The Refugee Travel Document is a travel document for nonimmigrants who currently have refugee or asylee status (temporary visas) and for permanent residents who obtained green cards through refugee or asylee status.

Individuals who have asylee or refugee status are required to have a Refugee Travel Document to reenter the U.S. after travel abroad (unless they have an Advance Parole Document).

Advance Parole Document

Advance parole allows you to return to the U.S. after traveling abroad without having to apply for a visa. Advance Parole Documents are commonly issued to people with pending I-485 Adjustment of Status applications and pending I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal.

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