Refugees who have become green card holders in the US due to their refugee status may eventually want to return home or travel to see family. However, to travel outside the US, refugees must have a refugee travel document. This document helps establish the traveler’s status at the border and ensures that a refugee can re-enter the US after leaving. The refugee travel document looks similar to a passport. Unless you have an advance parole document or a refugee travel document, you should not leave the US if you are a refugee. You may not be allowed to re-enter the country without these documents.
The refugee travel document is valid for one year, or until your refugee status expires. It cannot be renewed. It is also important to note that a refugee travel document only allows you to seek entry into the US. It does not guarantee re-entry into the US. You still must show border authorities that you are admissible into the US in order to gain entry, even if you have a travel document. If you think that you may not be admissible for entry into the US, do you may wish to consult with a qualified US immigration attorney before making any plans to travel outside the United States.
To apply for a refugee travel document, you must have valid status as an asylee or refugee or you must be a green card holder as a refugee or asylee. You must also make sure that the destination where you are traveling accepts a refugee travel document as a valid form of travel document. To apply for your travel document, you must file USCIS Form I-131. You can find the latest version of this form online and at the USCIS website.
To file USCIS Form I-131, you must submit a filing fee and you will need to make a biometrics appointment. You may also need to submit supporting documents to prove your status and you will need to submit two photos with your application. It is important to read the instructions for Form I-131 carefully, as any mistakes can delay your application or cause your application to be rejected. It is also important to file the application while you are in the US. In most cases, you will want to wait until you get your refugee travel document before making any travel plans. That way, if there are any delays in your application they will not affect your travel.
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