Form I-131A – Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation) for the United States

1. What is Form I-131A used for?

Form I-131A is used for applying for a carrier documentation (also known as a transportation letter) to allow lawful permanent residents (LPRs), who are currently outside of the United States without their Green Card, to re-enter the country. This form is required when an LPR’s Green Card has been lost, stolen, expired, or destroyed while they are abroad and they need to travel back to the United States. The carrier documentation serves as a temporary evidence of permanent resident status and allows the LPR to board transportation to return to the U.S. without their physical Green Card. It is important to note that Form I-131A is specifically for Green Card holders and cannot be used by other nonimmigrant visa holders or individuals with different immigration statuses.

2. Who is eligible to use Form I-131A?

1. Form I-131A is specifically designated for lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who are outside the United States and require a transportation letter to board a transportation carrier (such as a commercial airline) to return to the U.S. This travel document, also known as carrier documentation, is necessary for LPRs who have lost their Green Card or had it stolen while abroad and need to travel back to the United States.

2. Eligibility criteria for using Form I-131A include:
a. The applicant must be a lawful permanent resident of the United States.
b. The applicant must be outside the United States at the time of application.
c. The applicant must have lost their Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) or had it stolen while abroad.
d. The applicant must have an urgent need to travel back to the United States and cannot obtain a boarding foil (transportation letter) from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
e. The applicant’s Green Card must not have been revoked or taken away by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Overall, only lawful permanent residents who meet these specific criteria are eligible to use Form I-131A to obtain carrier documentation for returning to the United States.

3. How do I know if I need to apply for a travel document using Form I-131A?

You need to apply for a travel document using Form I-131A if you are a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) of the United States and have been outside of the country for less than one year, but you are returning by commercial transportation and your green card has been lost, stolen, or destroyed. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Your green card must have been lost, stolen, or destroyed.
2. You must have been outside of the United States for less than one year.
3. You must be returning to the United States by commercial transportation.

If you meet these criteria, you should apply for a travel document using Form I-131A in order to be allowed to re-enter the United States as a lawful permanent resident.

4. What is the filing fee for Form I-131A?

The filing fee for Form I-131A – Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation) is $575. This fee is required for each application submitted, and payment must be included at the time of filing. The fee is non-refundable, regardless of the outcome of the application. It is important to ensure that the correct fee amount is submitted, as any discrepancies may result in delays or rejection of the application. It is recommended to check the most up-to-date fee information on the official website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before submitting Form I-131A.

5. Can I file Form I-131A online or do I have to mail it in?

Form I-131A, Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation), must be filed online. It cannot be mailed in like many other USCIS forms. This form is specifically designed for certain lawful permanent residents who need to apply for a travel document in the form of carrier documentation because they are returning from temporary overseas travel of less than one year. The online filing system allows for a more streamlined and efficient process, enabling applicants to complete and submit their Form I-131A electronically. It is important to ensure all required information and supporting documentation are provided accurately when submitting the form online to avoid delays in processing or potential denial of the application.

6. What supporting documents do I need to submit with Form I-131A?

When submitting Form I-131A – Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation) for the United States, it is important to include the necessary supporting documents to ensure your application is complete and has the best chance of approval. The specific supporting documents required may vary based on your individual circumstances, but generally include the following:

1. Proof of payment of the $575 filing fee for Form I-131A.
2. A copy of your passport biographic page to verify your identity.
3. Any previous approval notices or immigration documents relevant to your current status.
4. Evidence of your need for urgent travel, such as a copy of your itinerary or a letter explaining the emergency situation that necessitates your travel.

It is important to carefully review the instructions provided with Form I-131A and any accompanying guidance from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to ensure you are submitting all required supporting documents. Failure to include necessary documentation may result in delays or denial of your application.

7. How long does it take to process Form I-131A?

The processing time for Form I-131A can vary depending on several factors. Generally, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) aims to process this form within 2-4 weeks, but this is not guaranteed. Certain issues such as missing documentation, incomplete information, or background checks may cause delays in processing. It’s important to submit the form well in advance of your planned travel date to allow for any unforeseen delays. Additionally, paying the appropriate fee and providing all necessary supporting documents can help expedite the processing of your Form I-131A.

8. Can I expedite the processing of Form I-131A?

Yes, you can expedite the processing of Form I-131A under certain circumstances. To request expedited processing, you must meet one of the following criteria:

1. A documented emergency situation such as a serious illness, injury, or death in your immediate family that necessitates immediate travel.
2. Urgent travel required for a work-related purpose where a delay in travel would negatively impact your employer or business.

To request expedited processing, you should contact the U.S. embassy or consulate where you plan to apply for the carrier documentation and explain your situation. They will then review your request and determine if expedited processing is appropriate in your case. Note that expedited processing is not guaranteed and is subject to the discretion of the immigration authorities.

It is important to provide clear documentation and evidence supporting your request for expedited processing to increase the likelihood of approval. Additionally, be prepared to pay any additional fees that may be required for expedited processing.

9. Can I apply for Form I-131A if I’m already outside the United States?

Yes, you can apply for Form I-131A while outside the United States if you are a lawful permanent resident (LPR) and need to obtain a transportation letter to return to the U.S. This travel document is specifically for LPRs who have lost their green card, had it stolen, or whose green card has expired while they are abroad. To apply for the Form I-131A, you must be able to provide evidence of your LPR status and demonstrate that you are eligible for the transportation letter. It is important to follow the application instructions carefully and provide all required documentation to avoid any delays in processing your application. Once approved, the transportation letter issued through Form I-131A will allow you to board a carrier that is destined for the U.S. and return to the country as an LPR.

10. Can I use Form I-131A if I have a pending adjustment of status application?

Yes, you can use Form I-131A if you have a pending adjustment of status application. This form is specifically designed for individuals who are lawful permanent residents (green card holders) or conditional permanent residents who need to apply for a travel document in order to return to the United States after temporary international travel. If you have a pending adjustment of status application and need to travel abroad urgently, you can submit Form I-131A to request an appropriate travel document, such as an Carrier Documentation, to reenter the United States. It is important to follow the instructions on the form carefully and provide all the required information and supporting documents to ensure a smooth processing of your application.

11. Can I apply for Form I-131A if my green card has been lost or stolen?

Yes, you can apply for Form I-131A if your green card has been lost or stolen. Form I-131A is used by lawful permanent residents (green card holders) to apply for a Carrier Documentation when they need to travel abroad urgently and do not have a valid green card. In the case of a lost or stolen green card, it is essential to apply for Form I-131A to be able to board a commercial carrier for return travel to the United States. To apply for Form I-131A in such a situation, you will need to provide documentation to support your application, such as a police report for a stolen green card or an explanation of the circumstances of how it was lost. Additionally, you will also need to pay the required application fee and submit the form to the appropriate USCIS office for processing.

12. What happens if my Form I-131A is denied?

If your Form I-131A application is denied, you will receive a written explanation from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) detailing the reasons for the denial. It is important to carefully review this explanation to understand why your application was not approved. In case of denial, you have several options:

1. Appeal: You may have the option to appeal the decision within a specified timeframe. You can request a review of the denial by submitting a Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, along with the required fee.

2. Reapply: Depending on the reasons for the denial, you may be able to address the issues and reapply for the Form I-131A. Make sure to correct any errors or provide additional documentation to strengthen your application.

3. Seek legal advice: If you are unsure about why your application was denied or need assistance in navigating the appeals process, it may be beneficial to consult with an immigration attorney or accredited representative for guidance.

It is essential to act promptly and consider your next steps carefully after receiving a denial to address the issues and increase the chances of a successful outcome in your application for a travel document.

13. Can I travel while my Form I-131A application is pending?

Yes, you may travel while your Form I-131A application is pending. However, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind:

1. If you have a pending Form I-131A application for a carrier documentation travel document, you must ensure that you have the necessary documentation and permission to travel without the physical travel document.

2. It is recommended that you carry a copy of your I-131A application receipt notice to show to border officials if necessary.

3. Keep in mind that traveling while your application is pending may pose certain risks, such as potential delays or complications at the border, so it is important to assess these risks before making travel plans.

Remember to stay informed about your application status and consult with an immigration attorney if you have any concerns about traveling while your Form I-131A application is pending.

14. Can I apply for Form I-131A if I have a pending asylum application?

Yes, you can apply for Form I-131A if you have a pending asylum application. Generally, a pending asylum application does not prevent individuals from applying for a Form I-131A travel document. It is important to note that the Form I-131A is specifically designed for individuals who are lawful permanent residents or conditional residents who need to apply for a travel document in order to return to the United States after temporary travel abroad. If you have a pending asylum application but are still a lawful permanent resident or conditional resident, you may apply for the Form I-131A to facilitate your return to the U.S. in case of emergency or urgent travel needs. It is advisable to consult with an immigration attorney or contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for specific guidance based on your individual circumstances.

15. Can I apply for Form I-131A if I have a pending DACA application?

1. Yes, you can apply for Form I-131A even if you have a pending DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) application. Form I-131A is specifically used for individuals who need to apply for a travel document (carrier documentation) while they are outside the United States temporarily, and it is not necessarily related to DACA status.

2. If you have a pending DACA application and need to travel urgently for any reason, such as a family emergency or work-related issue, you can still submit Form I-131A to apply for a travel document to facilitate your return to the United States. It is important to provide all the necessary information and documentation required for Form I-131A to ensure a smooth application process.

3. Keep in mind that having a pending DACA application may have implications on your ability to re-enter the United States, so it is advisable to consult with an immigration attorney or a qualified legal professional to understand how your DACA status may be affected by traveling while your application is pending.

16. Can I use Form I-131A to re-enter the United States if my green card has expired?

Yes, you can use Form I-131A to apply for a Carrier Documentation travel document to re-enter the United States if your green card has expired. This form is specifically designed for Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) who need to travel abroad urgently and do not have a valid green card. It allows LPRs to obtain temporary evidence of their status for re-entry into the U.S. when their green card is lost, stolen, expired, or mutilated. By submitting Form I-131A and paying the required fee, you can request the issuance of a boarding foil, which serves as evidence of your LPR status while abroad and allows you to board a carrier to return to the U.S. It is important to note that Form I-131A is not a replacement for a green card and should only be used for emergency situations when traveling back to the U.S. without a valid green card.

17. Can I apply for Form I-131A if I have a criminal record?

Yes, individuals with a criminal record may still be eligible to apply for Form I-131A. However, whether your application will be approved will depend on various factors related to your criminal history. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Nature of the Offense: USCIS will assess the seriousness and nature of the offense on your criminal record.

2. Severity of the Offense: Certain serious crimes may make you ineligible for travel documents, especially if they are considered a threat to public safety or national security.

3. Age of the Offense: USCIS will also consider how long ago the offense occurred. Older offenses may have less impact on your application.

4. Completion of Sentence or Rehabilitation: Demonstrating that you have completed your sentence, paid any fines, and taken steps towards rehabilitation may work in your favor.

5. Consult with an Immigration Attorney: Given the complexities of immigration law, especially when it comes to criminal issues, it is advisable to consult with an immigration attorney. They can assess your specific situation and provide guidance on the best course of action for your Form I-131A application.

18. Can I use Form I-131A to travel to a foreign country other than my home country?

1. Yes, you can use Form I-131A to travel to a foreign country other than your home country if you are a lawful permanent resident (LPR) or conditional permanent resident and you need a travel document to return to the United States. Form I-131A, Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation), is specifically designed for LPRs who are outside the United States and need to apply for a travel document in order to board a transportation carrier (such as an airline) to return to the U.S.

2. If you are an LPR and your Form I-551 (green card) has been lost, stolen, or expired while you are abroad, you can use Form I-131A to apply for a Carrier Documentation, which will allow you to board the carrier and re-enter the United States. It is important to note that Form I-131A is only for travel back to the United States and is not intended for international travel to other foreign countries unrelated to your return to the U.S.

3. When submitting Form I-131A for Carrier Documentation, you will need to provide documentation to support your request, such as evidence of your LPR status, proof of your previous departure from the U.S., and details of your planned return trip. The application must be filed and approved before you can travel back to the United States, and the process typically involves paying a fee and attending a biometrics appointment at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.

4. Therefore, while Form I-131A can be utilized to travel to a foreign country other than your home country in the specific context of returning to the United States as an LPR needing a travel document, it is not intended for general international travel purposes. Always ensure that you have the necessary documentation and authorization for travel to your intended destination in compliance with the regulations of the countries involved.

19. Can I apply for Form I-131A if I have a conditional green card?

Yes, you can apply for Form I-131A if you have a conditional green card. Form I-131A, which is the Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation), is specifically used by lawful permanent residents (green card holders) to apply for a travel document (Carrier Documentation) in certain situations when they need to travel internationally urgently and do not have their green card with them. Conditional green card holders can use Form I-131A if they have lost their green card and need to travel internationally before receiving a replacement card. However, it’s important to note that the process and requirements may vary, so it is advisable to consult with an immigration attorney or check the latest guidelines on the official USCIS website before applying.

20. Can I use Form I-131A to travel on a cruise or on a private boat?

No, Form I-131A is specifically for individuals who are lawful permanent residents (green card holders) and are outside the United States without a valid Green Card. It is primarily used to obtain a transportation letter to board a commercial carrier (such as an airplane) to return to the U.S. In the case of traveling on a cruise or private boat, this form would not apply as it is intended for air travel specifically. For travel by sea, different documentation and protocols would need to be followed. It’s important to check with the cruise line or private boat operator to determine the specific requirements for lawful permanent residents traveling by sea.