Category Archives: Travel Documents

Blog articles in this category include information about advance parole documents, reentry permits, refugee travel documents, and Form I-131, Application for Travel Document.

Reentry Permit for Permanent Residents

CBP inspects reentry permit of permanent residentA permanent resident can generally travel outside the United States and return by simply showing a permanent resident card (green card) upon reentry at a U.S. port of entry.

But there are situations that a reentry permit is needed in addition to the permanent resident card.

A reentry permit can help avoid two types of problems:

  • Your permanent resident card becomes technically invalid for reentry into the United States if you are absent from the U.S. for 1 year or more.
  • Your permanent resident status may be considered as abandoned for absences shorter than 1 year if you take up residence in another country.

After traveling abroad, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at your U.S. port of entry will need to determine if your travel was “temporary” in nature. To be temporary, you must have the intention to return to the Untied States at the time of departure and throughout the entire trip. Employment, family, filing of taxes, involvement in the community all demonstrate ties to the U.S. To determine your intentions, some of the questions that a CBP officer may ask cover topics such as: Continue reading

USCIS Lost My Application

uscis lost my applicationUnfortunately, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is no different than any other massive government organization – they are heavily burdened with a large workload and aren’t the most efficient organization. In fact, several agencies make up the overall immigration system. Consular offices, Department of State and the National Visa Center all play a role. Over 6 million forms are filed with USCIS each year alone. Even if you’ve used our tips for preparing USCIS forms, it’s not uncommon for these agencies to lose parts of your application package or even the whole thing. But there are some preventive measures so that you don’t have to call us to say, “USCIS lost my application!” Continue reading

When Your Green Card is Lost or Stolen

green card is lost or stolenThe green card (officially known as a permanent resident card) is proof of your right to live and work in the United States. So if your green card is ever lost or stolen, the experience can be extremely nerve racking.

Don’t panic. You are not the first person to lose your green card. Losing your card does not mean you’ve lost your permanent resident status. But not having a green card can be a major problem when traveling, applying for a job or other daily activities.

Here is what to do when your green card is lost or stolen:
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USCIS Receipt Number Explained

USCIS Receipt Numbers ExplainedAfter you’ve filed almost any application or petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), they will respond by mailing you a Form I-797, Notice of Action, within approximately 1-2 weeks. The I-797, Notice of Action, is commonly known as a receipt letter.

For applicants that have incorrectly filed or included the wrong payment, this receipt letter will indicate that the case has been rejected. The applicant will need to refile. If you’ve prepared the form correctly and followed the USCIS directions carefully, this receipt letter will indicated that your case has been accepted. Once the form has been accepted, USCIS will begin reviewing your case.

The receipt letter contains a unique 13-digit receipt number. Also known as a case number, it’s a very important number to help you track the progress of your case or identify a particular immigration filing.
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Risks of International Green Card Travel

5 Green Card Travel Tips to Avoid Re-Entry Problems
and Permanent Residence Abandonment

international green card travel with re-entry PermitAs a lawful permanent resident of the United States, your obligations for maintaining your immigration status in the United States are fairly simple. You need to notify USCIS within 10 days of moving by using Form AR-11 and renew your green card every 10 years with Form I-90. International green card travel can introduce some new hazards.

Permanent residents are free to travel outside the United States, and temporary travel generally does not affect your permanent resident status. As the term “resident” suggests, your status comes with the expectation that you will live (make your home) in the U.S. If you spend too much time abroad, you could lose your right to a green card.

Here are five tips to understand before traveling abroad: Continue reading

DACA Green Card through Advance Parole

family with daca green cardDeferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients generally do not have a path to permanent resident status (green card). However, some DACA recipients can obtain a green card if they meet specific criteria. The Immigrant Legal Resource Center recently released an advisory that explains the technical requirements necessary to navigate this path to a DACA green card.

DACA is not a legal immigration status. It’s an exercise of discretion by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that grants temporary legal presence and employment authorization in the United States. Because many DACA recipients entered the country unlawfully, it can be very difficult to obtain legal status. The unlawful entry makes them ineligible for a DACA green card. Continue reading

Advance Parole Travel after Adjustment of Status

The Advance Parole travel document permits reentry to the United States after travel abroad and preserves a pending I-485 application

advance parole travel after adjustment of statusDuring the Adjustment of Status (AOS) process, the applicant can remain in the United States while waiting for his or her green card. But it can take several months to receive the green card after filing Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status.

Many applicants want to travel abroad during this time to visit family or take a vacation. But there’s a problem – an Adjustment of Status applicant that leaves the U.S. without Advance Parole is automatically considered to have abandoned the application. In simple terms, this person will not be allowed the re-enter the United States and the I-485 application would be terminated. To return to the U.S., this person would need to restart the immigration process through consular processing in a foreign country. This is a long and expensive journey. Continue reading

Traveling Abroad with Advance Parole for DACA

advance parole for daca
Advance Parole for DACA Recipients
People that have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), may also have the opportunity to travel abroad. The travel purposes are limited in scope, and travel must be authorized before departure through what is known as Advance Parole for DACA.

Advance Parole makes it possible to travel outside the United States and return without losing DACA status. It’s not available to everyone and for all travel reasons. Therefore, it’s important to understand the eligibility criteria and how to prepare the application for Advance Parole correctly. Continue reading

What Happens at a Biometrics Appointment

what happens at biometrics appointmentWhen you apply for a benefit from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) — such as a work permit, citizenship, green card or even a green card renewal — a standard part of the process is a biometrics appointment (also known as a biometrics screening).

Although it may sound scary, it is a very routine portion of the process and shouldn’t be a worry for most people. But it is important to understand what happens at the appointment, what to expect and who should be concerned. Continue reading