In the US, foreign nationals have restrictions placed on their travel in many cases. The government is simply better able to ensure national security and security of everyone living in the US when non-citizens are not allowed to freely enter and leave the country as they wish. If you are a non-citizen and not a permanent resident, you will need to apply for travel document and travel authorization when leaving the country. One document you may need, for example, is USCIS Form I-131 (Application for Travel Document).
Form I131 allows you to apply for a refugee travel document, a re-entry permit, a travel document, or advance parole. It is important to file Immigration Form I 131 before you travel because failure to do so can make it difficult to re-enter the US. Along with USCIS Form I-131, you will need to submit a $305 filing fee. If you are applying for a re-entry permit or a refugee travel document, you may also need to pay an addition $80 biometric fee.
In many cases, the Application for Travel Document is filed with other immigration forms. For example, Form I-131 is often filed together with Form I-821 (Application for Temporary Protected Status) or with other forms. If you are applying with other documents, refer to the latest directions and instructions for Form I131. These instructions are available on the USCIS website, along with the latest version of immigration form I 131.
In some cases, USCIS Form I-131 is completed by widowers of US citizens. In cases where a US citizen has married but has passed away before their new spouse has achieved a green card or permanent status in the US (this usually happens if the marriage took place less than two years ago), the widow or widower may need to file an Application for Travel Document as well as other immigration forms in order to maintain status in the US. A widower or widow of a US citizen who needs advanced parole will need to file Form I-131, for example. As well, if you wish to adjust your status and maintain documented status in the US, you may need to file Form I131 and Form I-485 (Adjustment of Status Application). With these documents, you may still be able to immigrate to the US as the widow or widower of a US citizen. If you marry before you get a green card, however, your ability to emigrate as a widow or widower of a US citizen will end.
Copyright 2010, American Immigration Center