If you want to travel to and from the US, you will need travel documents. Travel documents show border authorities your status, your nationality, and your rights to re-enter or enter the US. If you are a US citizen, for example, and wish to travel outside of the US, you will generally need your US passport,as well as any visa you require in order to enter your country of destination. If you are a green card holder, you will need your green card as well as your original passport from your home country. If you are traveling to a destination that requires visas, you will need to secure that visa to cross the border. If you are not a US citizen and wish to enter the US, you will generally need a passport from your country of origin as well as a visa to enter the US. Other forms of travel documents which can be used to enter and re-enter the US include the US passport card, DHS “Trusted Traveler” cards, Military ID, Border Crossing Card, DHS enhanced driver’s license, REAL ID state photo cards, Native American Tribal Photo identification document, airport-issued TSA-approved ID, a valid Registered Traveler Card, the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) card, and the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC).
It is important to determine what travel documents you need before you travel. You can determine this by visiting the USCIS website and other official websites that can help you determine what documentation you need. It is important to apply for your travel documents well in advance of your travels, since it can take some time to secure documentation, and you don’t want to have to cancel your plans or delay them.
However, it is important to keep in mind that travel documents do not give you authority or the right to cross a border. Even with the correct documents, you may be detained or stopped at a border and refused entry. For this reason, it is important to secure the right documents but also to travel with additional cash or a provisional plan of what to do in case you are denied entry. In most cases, if you are denied entry at a border, you will need to visit the nearest consulate or embassy to sort out your travel documents and entry request.