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By The Houston Immigration Lawyers and the U.S. Immigration Attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham.!

The issue of whether one should obtain a travel document, whether it be a re-entry permit, refugee travel documents, or an advance parole document, often arise when a foreign national desire to travel abroad. As in many other areas of immigration law, there is much confusion as to the requirements, the length of travel, and the consequences of such travel with and without travel documents. This article is intended to shed some lights into these confusions. It is not intended to be replaced with a person consultation with an experienced immigration attorney. As in any other immigration issue, each case is unique and depends on the facts and circumstances of each case, such as whether a person has a previous criminal conviction that would make the person an inadmissible alien. Our Houston Re-entry Permit Lawyers and our Houston Advance Parole Travel Documents Attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham., P.C. are experienced and knowledgeable in the requirements and eligibility for foreign nationals to travel outside the U.S. Please contact the Houston Travel Documents Lawyers and the U.S. Re-entry Permit Attorneys for more information.

U.S. Reentry Permits

Reentry permits are documents issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), through the USCIS, to U.S. legal permanent residents (LPRs). who intend to travel outside the U.S. for an extended about of time. Essentially, the Reentry permit allows the LPR to travel abroad and return to the U.S. without having to obtain a returning resident visa from the U.S. Consular Office abroad. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), any LPR who travel outside the U.S. for one year or more, without a re-entry permit, is deemed to have abandoned his or her status as a permanent resident. As such, traveling for 1 year or more without a travel document could result in a denial of reentry upon arrival to the U.S. port of entry (POE). The LPR would have to obtain a returning resident visa from the U.S. Consular office abroad by filing an application for advance permission to return to the U.S. as an unrelinquished domicile. However, as stated, the LPR must overcome the presumption that he or she has abandoned his or her residence in the U.S.

In addition to the above, any LPR (Green Card Holder) who traveled outside the U.S. for 180 days or more may also be considered to have abandoned one’s domicile in the U.S. and relinquished his or her permanent residency. The USCIS and the U.S. Custom and Border Protection (CBP) may rely on specific information regarding the person’s travel to come to such conclusion. For example, if the LPR travels outside the U.S. and intended to work on a contract for 6 months, without obtaining a reentry permit prior to departure, the USCIS may consider that the person has abandoned his or her residency. In addition, if the person travels to a third country and acted in ways to establish his domicile there, including filing applications to be permanent residents in such third country, the CBP may also consider the LPR’s action as intentions to abandon U.S. permanent residency.

As such, any LPR that intends to travel outside the U.S. for at least 180 days or more should apply and obtain a reentry permit prior to departure. Previously, the applicant may file an application for a travel document and leave the country prior to the USCIS’s decision. Recently, the procedure has changed. The USCIS now required biometric information (finger printing) and may request an interview with the applicant. As such, applicants for travel documents must remain in the U.S. until the application has been approved, or at least until after the biometrics but may run into the risk of being denied if the USCIS request an interview and the person cannot appear because he/she had left the country. The Houston Reentry Permit Attorneys and the Houston Travel Documents Lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham. can assist you in filing and obtaining reentry permits within approximately 60-90 days from the date of filing. Please contact the Houston Immigration Lawyers and the Houston Reentry Permit Attorneys at Veritas for assistance in filing travel documents.

Refugee Travel Documents

Refugee travel documents are issued to persons that are in the United States as refugee or asylee, or U.S. permanent residents who obtained such status as refugee and asylee, who travel outside the U.S. While the general 180 days and 1 year rule, as stated above, applies to U.S. permanent residents, those that are currently in refugee or asylee status, including applicants of pending adjustment of status applications, MUST obtain a refugee travel document to travel abroad. Further, it is advisable that permanent residents who obtained such status as refugee ad asylee that intend to travel to the home country should also apply for a travel document prior to departure. The failure to file a refugee travel document may result in the denial of reentry, especially if the regugee or asylee returned to the home country that is the basis of the refugee and asylee application. Please contact the Houston Refugee Travel Document Lawyers and the Houston Asylee Travel Document Attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham. to prepare and file the application for travel document.

Advance Parole Documents

An advance parole document is issued to foreign nationals that are under nonimmigrant status under extraordinary circumstances, such as an emergency or a death in the family, to travel abroad and return to the U.S. without an actual visa. Ordinary, a nonimmigrant, such as an H-1B Specialty Worker or an L-1 Intra-company Transferee, who possess an actual visa, including a visa stamp at the port of entry, do not need an advance parole to reenter the U.S. These visa holders may simply use the valid visa to enter the U.S. However, foreign nationals who receive nonimmigrant status, and not an actual visa, through filing such applications with the USCIS must obtain either a visa from the U.S. Consular office abroad or an advance parole to return to the U.S. Again, it is important to differentiate a visa holder verses one that has the visa status. A nonimmigrant visa status only allows the person to remain in the U.S. under the same conditions as a visa holder but it does not provide travel privileges. If the nonimmigrant visa status holder leaves the U.S. without an advance parole, the person is considered to have abandoned the visa status. If you are a nonimmigrant visa status holder, please contact the Houston Advance Parole Attorneys and the Houston Immigration Travel Document Lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham. for assistance in preparing and filing advance parole documents.


Immigration Law is a vast area of law and every situation is unique. This article is intended for informational purposes only. You should NOT rely on the limited information on this article in replacing a personal consultation with an experienced Houston Immigration Travel Document Attorney. There may be legal issues, depending on the facts and circumstances, in which you may not be aware. Please feel free to give us a call or to contact us online, for more information. Our Houston Travel Document Attorneys and the Woodlands Lawyers Reentry Permit Lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham. can be reached at 713-517-6645 or complete our Online Contact Form.