New Form I 131A For Lawful Permanent Residents
Author: New York Immigration attorney Alena Shautsova
Form 131 is currently used by Immigration for a variety of different applications. For example, if somebody would like to apply for an advance parole, humanitarian parole, a refugee/asylee travel document, or a re-entry permit, they would have to submit their applications using I 131. Also, those who are seeking parole in place, also would have to use the same form.
For a while, there was a confusion when a permanent resident would go abroad and having spent there less than a year would find him/herself in a situation where his/her green card is missing: stolen, destroyed or lost. Such a person would have to “work” with a US consulate oversees to obtain a boarding foil and pay fees for a new green card.
Now,USCIS issued a new form: I-131A. This form is to be used to apply for a travel document if they are returning from temporary overseas travel of less than one year and their green card has been lost, stolen, or destroyed, or are returning from temporary overseas travel of less than two years and their reentry permit has been lost, stolen, or destroyed.
For convenience, the fees for the form (the current fee is $360) can be paid online. The form has to be filed with the nearest US consulate, and before making an appointment with a consulate, a person has to print a copy of the receipt for the paid fee.
Hopefully, the new procedure will simplify the process of obtaining a permission to return to the US for those LPRs who are not in possession of valid green cards or re-entry permits. LPRs who are filing I 131A must submit appropriate evidence, including copies of documents confirming their identity and status. A passport style photo is also a must.
It is important to remember, that if a LPR stayed abroad for longer than a year, and does not possess a re-entry permit, he/she would have to seek a returning resident visa.
Those who are no longer in LPR or conditional resident status, may not use I 131A. For example, if a decision on a pending application was negative, and the person was overseas at this time, he/she will not be able to come back to the US using I-131A.
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