USCIS Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, serves several functions, depending on an individual’s immigration status:
- Permanent residents and conditional permanent residents must file and gain approval of a Form I-131 prior to leaving the U.S if their absence will exceed one year. Approval of Form I-131 results in a re-entry permit that will allow the individual to re-enter the U.S. It also ensures they are able to maintain their permanent resident status while out of the U.S. Individuals who fail to file Form I-131 prior to an extended absence risk losing permanent resident status.
- Refugees, asylees and permanent residents who gained that status as a refugee or asylee must file and gain approval of a Form I-131 prior to leaving the U.S. In this case, Form I-131 approval results in a Refugee Travel Document and will allow the individual to re-enter the U.S. Refugee Travel Documents are valid for one year. Individuals who fail to file Form I-131, who leave prior to their scheduled biometrics appointment or exceed the one-year limit risk losing status as a refugee or asylee.
- Certain other individuals who are in the U.S must file and gain approval of a Form I-131 prior to leaving the U.S for any period of time. This includes individuals who are in the U.S and
- have a pending application to adjust status;
- are under Temporary Protected Status, are pending, or are under T or U nonimmigrant status;
- are grantees of parole under INA 212(d)(5);
- are a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipient;
- qualify under an IMMACT 90 or LIFE Act Family Unity Program;
- have a pending application for temporary resident status; or
- have V nonimmigrant status.
- Certain individuals who are outside the U.S can file Form I-131 to obtain an Advance Parole Document granting entry into the U.S for urgent humanitarian reasons, public benefit or family reunification under qualifying programs.
What is Class of Admission on Form I-131?
Since Form I-131 serves so many purposes for so many different types of travel situations, the form uses item 6 on part one of its first page to establish the applicant’s Class of Admission. Applicants must supply a code that indicates their Class of Admission. This code refers to the condition or law that grants them entry to the U.S. It is usually three digits using letters and numbers; however, some codes are longer, and a few are shorter.
Where are the Class of Admission codes?
Individuals who have a Permanent Resident Card, or Green Card, can find the Class of Admission listed as the category code on their card. Class of Admission codes are also available online:
- USCIS Website. USCIS provides access to “Appendix 23-7, Class of Admission Under the Immigrant Laws, Code.” The appendix lists by law and alphanumeric code all valid class of admission options for both new arrivals and individuals adjusting status. Because codes differ, depending on whether the individual is a new arrival or a person who is adjusting status, a description category identifies whether the code is for “N,” a new arrival, or “A,” a person adjusting status.
- Department of Homeland Security Websites. DHS provides two web pages, one titled “Immigrant Classes of Admission” and one titled “Nonimmigrant Classes of Admission.” Each lists the types of classes and allows users to expand the generalized descriptions to reveal a list of codes that apply to individual situations.
What are some sample Class of Admission codes?
Class of Admission codes differ according to a number of criteria. To find the appropriate code, applicants must check descriptions carefully. For example, a spouse of an “alien resident” submitting a Form I-131 must select from 12 different codes, depending on, for example, whether they are
- subject to country limits or exempt from country limits,
- a new arrival or an adjustment in status,
- self-petitioning or
Therefore, a spouse of an alien resident who is from a country subject to limits and who is a new arrival might use a code of F21. Meanwhile, another spouse of an alien resident who is also a new arrival from a country subject to limits but is conditional might use a code of C21. If the spouse qualifies under a specialized program, the code might be yet another one specifically associated with that program’s code options.
Similarly, children have even more options, often linked with the status and conditions associated with their parents. Because the DHS webpages for immigrant and nonimmigrant classes of admission use broad descriptions to direct users to detailed codes, it may prove more user-friendly than the USCIS website and Appendix 23-7. Applicants may be wise, however, to cross-check category codes between both websites.