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What Is Form I-131?2023-01-18T12:25:46-05:00
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What Is Form I-131?

The longer name for this is Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. The travel document is used by people who live in the U.S., who are waiting for their green card to be approved, but want to travel abroad without “abandoning” their green card application.

USCIS states that if you leave the U.S. while your green card application is pending, without “advance parole”, you will abandon your application.

The family based green card process can take 10 months to several years depending on your situation. The marriage green card process can take 11 to 26 months. These times are from the moment you mail your application, to the day you receive your green card. 10 to 26 months is a long time to go without traveling abroad, especially if you have a family emergency, or need to travel abroad for any reason.

However, as mentioned above, your green card application will be canceled if you leave the United States without the correct travel document, before your green card application is approved.

The future is unpredictable, so it is best to apply for a travel document at the same time you file your green card application. Then, if you experience a family emergency, or need to travel for any reason, your green card application will not be abandoned and nullified.

In this guide we answer many questions about Form I-131:

Why Do I Need A Travel Document?

A green card application will be canceled if a person leaves the United States before their green card application is approved, without the correct travel document. This means that either they will need to restart their green card application process, and pay the fees again. Or, they will be unable to reenter the U.S.

The travel document will grant a person living in the U.S. with advance parole. The word “parole” is usually associated with the idea of prisoners and legal proceedings, but this is different. In this situation, “advance parole” is permission for a person to reenter the United States before they even leave.

Which Travel Document Should I Apply For?

Form I-131 is used to obtain 5 different travel documents. Each one is used for a different situation. These are the 5 travel documents:

  1. Advance Parole For Individuals Who Are Currently In The United States – This is the most common, and pertains to individuals who have filed a Form I-485 to adjust their status. This would be the document you need if you applied for a family based green card.
  2. Reentry Permit – This allows a green card holder, or a conditional permanent resident, to apply for admission to the United States when they return from a trip abroad. A reentry permit prevents them from needing a new visa and proves that they didn’t intend to abandon their resident status.
  3. Refugee Travel Document – This allows refugees and asylees to travel abroad, and reenter the United States without nullifying their status.
  4. Advance Parole Document for Individuals Outside the United States – This is extremely rare. This document allows an alien to come to the U.S. to seek parole temporarily due to a public health, or humanitarian emergency.
  5. Advance Permission to Travel for CNMI Long-Term Residents – Allows CNMI Long-Term Residents to travel to any other part of the United States for temporary and legitimate purposes without terminating their CNMI long-term resident status.

What Documents Do I Need To Provide With My I-131?

This depends on which travel document you are applying for when filing Form I-131. Here we will list the documents needed for people who are waiting for a family based green card, but need to travel. The necessary documents for other travel documents are listed in the instructions for Form I-131.

Advance Parole For Individuals Who Are Currently In The United States

For this travel document, the necessary documents include but may not be limited to:

  • A copy of an official photo ID document showing your photo, name, and date of birth.
  • A copy of any document issued to you by USCIS showing your immigration present status.
  • An explanation, and evidence demonstrating why you need an Advance Parole Document.
  • If you applied for adjustment of status: A copy of the USCIS receipt as evidence that you filed the adjustment application.
  • If you are traveling to Canada to apply for an immigrant visa: A copy of the U.S. consular appointment letter.
  • If USCIS has deferred action in your case under DACA: A copy of the Form I-797, Notice of Action, showing that the decision on your Form I-821D was to defer action in your case.

Should My Documents Be Translated Into English?

Yes, according to USCIS, if you submit a document with information in a foreign language, you must also submit an English translation.

To guarantee that your I-131 is processed as quickly as possible, it helps to use a certified translator.

You can order a certified translation of these documents from our online store:

Order Your Certified Translation

How Much Does Form I-131 Cost?

If you file Form I-131 at the same time as Form I-485, there is no cost, (as long as Form I-485 was filed on or after July 30, 2007). This is the simplest and cheapest way to file Form I-131.

If you have already filed Form I-485, there is also no cost to file Form I-131. You will just need to make sure to include the Form I-797 Notice of Action and the receipt showing that you filed and paid the fee for Form I-485. You will also have to include the other documents mentioned above.

In other situations the cost for Form I-131 is $575 and the biometrics services fee is $85 depending on your situation. The highest possible price is $660.

How Long Does Form I-131 Take To Process?

The median processing time for Form I-131 is between 4 and 10 months according to USCIS historic processing times. The fastest way to get Form I-131 is to submit it at the same time as form I-485.

In order to ensure that Form I-131 is processed as quickly as possible, use a certified translation of any documents that are not in English.

You can order a certified translation of these documents from our online store:

Order Your Certified Translation

Where Should I File Form I-131?

The address where you should file Form I-131 depends on which travel document you need. USCIS has a detailed list of addresses to file Form I-131 depending on your situation.

If you are submitting Form I-131 along with Form I-485, you will send it to the designated address for Form I-485.

When Can I Apply For A Travel Document?

The best time to file Form I-131, applying for your travel document, is at the same time you file your green card application. You can also file for a travel document after you file your green card application if your green card application is still pending. Basically you should apply for a travel document as soon as possible.

Are There Travel Restrictions For My Travel Document?

The most important to remember, is that you should not travel outside of the U.S. before your Form I-131 is approved. You must also pay attention to the dates that your travel document is valid, and be sure to only travel during that time period. Be sure to return to the U.S. before your travel document expires.

Usually, a travel document is valid for one year. If a person remains outside of the U.S. for more than one year, they will most likely cancel their status as a continuous resident of the U.S.

Be sure to receive alerts from USCIS. This will ensure that you know the exact times of your green card interview and your biometrics services appointment.

If you believe for any reason that you will not be permitted to reenter the U.S. at the port of entry, it is best not to leave at all. For example, if there has been a gap in your legal immigration status in the U.S., you may be found inadmissible to the United States.

How Can I Renew My Travel Document?

If your travel document is going to expire, you can file for a renewal 120 days before it expires. You should file Form I-131 as early as possible. This will allow you to be able to travel freely. There is no cost to renew your travel document.

To renew your travel document, you must submit the following documents:

  • A new Form I-131.
  • A copy of your current travel document.
  • A copy of the receipt showing that you filed and paid the fee for Form I-485.

What Happens When I Return To The U.S. With My Travel Document?

Filing your green card application does not make you a permanent resident. When you return to the U.S. you will be considered an “arriving alien”.

This means that an immigration officer will probably speak with you individually. This is to verify that you have filed a green card application and that you traveled within the allowed dates of your travel document.

The officer will then make a “discretionary decision” about whether or not you can enter the U.S. If you have a travel document, and traveled within the allowed dates, you will most likely be permitted in the U.S.

Where Can I Get a Certified Translation?

The documents and forms mentioned here may not be a complete list. You might also need to submit a certified translation of some documents that are not in English. Different types of green cards require different documents. Those could include:

You can order a certified translation of these documents from our online store:

Order Your Certified Translation

It is always important to do your own research. Check the USCIS website and the National Visa Center website to see if you are eligible to file a green card application. U.S. Language Services LLC is not a law firm and does not provide legal advice. As a result, it is not a substitute for legal counsel. If you need assistance submitting your paperwork, please seek out the advice of a lawyer.

U.S. Language Services LLC is not affiliated with or endorsed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or any other agency of the United States government.

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Can you expedite my translation?2020-10-13T08:31:38-04:00

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Our translators have years of experience in the translation industry and specialize in different areas of service. Many of them have graduate degrees and certificates in fields such as law and engineering.

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Certified Translation

What is a certified translation?2020-04-10T10:52:38-04:00

A certified translation is a word-for-word translation required for official use by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), universities, colleges, state or federal institutions and courts.

All our certified translations are issued in accordance with the regulations established by the USCIS, the institution that most frequently requires this type of document. A certified translation includes a certificate issued on our corporate letterhead signed by the translator and a U.S. Language Services representative in PDF format.

How much does it cost?2021-04-13T11:31:37-04:00

The price for a certified translation is $29.00 per page. No hidden fees.
Each page may contain up to 250 words or fewer including numbers. Pages may be letter size (8.5″ x 11″), A4 or smaller and one sided.
For languages that use logograms, such as Chinese, Korean and Japanese, each character is considered a word.

How are the pages counted?2022-06-28T09:54:53-04:00

When you order a certified translation, the most significant variable is how the pages of the document are calculated. We take into consideration both the number of physical pages in your original document and the total word count.

Each page may contain up to 250 words. Pages may be letter size (8.5″ x 11″), A4 or smaller and one sided.

For example: A project with 2 physical pages that each contain 500 words (1,000 words total), is calculated as 4 pages (1,000 words ÷ 250 = 4 pages).

What happens if I don’t count the number of pages correctly?2020-04-10T10:48:37-04:00

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How long will it take to translate my document?2021-06-07T18:46:33-04:00

For most common languages, including Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian and Chinese, you can expect to receive a 1-3 page translation in 1 business day. Larger projects (4 – 10 pages) can take up to 3 business days.

For orders in other language pairs, our team will review your documents and provide you with the delivery date once you place your order.

Note: Orders placed after 2 p.m. EST (Eastern Standard Time) will be processed by our team on the following business day. Delivery dates exclude weekends & holidays. 

Do you offer notarized translations?2021-11-10T14:29:32-05:00

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Standard Translation

How much does it cost?2020-11-12T06:22:39-05:00

The price for a standard translation is $0.12 per word. No hidden fees.
For languages that use logograms, such as Chinese, Korean and Japanese, each character is considered a word.

Is there a minimun?2020-11-11T11:10:45-05:00

Yes. The minimum per project is $24 or 200 words.

What is a standard translation?2020-11-11T11:14:07-05:00

A standard translation is a high-quality, professional translation of documents or text-based files delivered in an editable Word file. If you require a different format (pages, rtf, txt) just let us know when placing your order using the comments field. This service is perfect for:

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How do you ensure quality?2020-04-10T11:12:59-04:00

Our translators have years of experience in the translation industry and specialize in different areas of service. Many of them have graduate degrees and certificates in fields such as marketing, law and engineering. We’re very selective and accept less than 10% of the translators that apply.

A typical translator working for U.S. Language Services has over 5 years of experience and is fluent or bilingual in English and the source or target language.

What languages do you translate?2022-03-21T11:43:14-04:00

U.S. Language Services provides translation services in 35 languages. We translate both from English and into English:

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How long will it take?2021-06-07T18:46:35-04:00

For most common languages, including Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish you can expect to receive:

  • A 500 word translation in 1 business day
  • A 1,000 word translation in 2 business days
  • A 2,000 word translation in 3 business days
  • A 5,000 word translation in 5 business days

For orders in other language pairs, our team will review your documents and provide you with the delivery date once you place your order.

Note: Orders placed after 2 p.m. EST (Eastern Standard Time) will be processed by our team on the following business day. Delivery dates exclude weekends & holidays.

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