U.S. Travel Documents & Re-Entry Permits
Immigrants who need documents to travel outside of the U.S. and return to the U.S. include:
- People with a pending application for permanent residence or adjustment of status (seek "advance parole")
- Asylum applicants with pending applications (seek "advance parole")
- Refugees, asylees and individuals with temporary protected status who are not permanent residents (seek a "refugee travel document")
- Permanent residents and conditional permanent residents (seek a "re-entry permit")
If you are in one of these categories and you do not have the required travel document for re-entry to the U.S., you may be unable to re-enter, your immigrant status may be stripped and deportation/removal proceedings may begin.
What Happens if I Leave the U.S.?
If you are a permanent resident and you plan to be outside the U.S. for over one year, you will need a re-entry permit (Form I-131) to return to the U.S. Re-entry permits are valid for two years, and you may use it as your passport, traveling freely outside the U.S.
However, if U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines you did not intend to permanently reside in the U.S., an immigration judge may find that you have abandoned your permanent resident status.
- If you remain outside of the U.S. for over six months, you risk losing the continuous residency requirement within the U.S. to become a U.S. citizen.
- If you remain outside the U.S. for over one year, USCIS may argue that your permanent resident status is void, and it may begin deportation/removal proceedings if you attempt to re-enter.
- If you remain outside the U.S. for over two years, your re-entry permit will expire. You will need to apply for a returning resident visa (SB-1) at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
Contact Our Houston Visa Attorney Today
It is important to consult a Houston immigration lawyer to fully understand the benefits and consequences of traveling outside the U.S. with immigrant status. Attorney Mana Yegani helps people throughout the Houston area. Find out what the legal steps are to apply for travel documents and visas.