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Immigration Update

USCIS Revises Re-entry Permit Application Process
MVA Immigration Team

On March 5, 2008, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued revised instructions for filing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document for Lawful Permanent Residents (Green Card holders) requesting re-entry permits.  Applicants are required to provide biometrics (e.g., fingerprints and photographs) at a USCIS Application Support Centers (ASC) for background and security checks and requirements for secure travel and entry documents containing biometric identifiers.  USCIS will notify applicants of their appointment at the designated ASC after submission of the I-131 application.

The new instructions for Form I-131 require that applicants for re-entry permits ages 14 through 79 provide biometrics before departing from the United States.  Applicants also are strongly encouraged to apply, whenever possible, well in advance of their anticipated travel dates to allow time to attend their ASC appointments and to receive their travel documents.   Shortly after filing an I-131 form for a Re-entry Permit, USCIS will mail the applicant his or her receipt and an ASC appointment notice.  The I-131 instructions will also provide guidance for certain persons who are abroad at the time of filing to visit a U.S. Embassy or consulate for fingerprinting, although all applicants are urged to file before leaving the United States. Please note that while the instructions are being changed to allow for fingerprinting abroad, the Consulates are not currently equipped to provide this service at this time so for the foreseeable future re-entry permit applicants will have to appear for fingerprinting at ASC’s in the United States.

The instructions also discuss the requirement for applicants for re-entry permits who are in the United States to pay the $80 biometrics services fee.  Permanent residents who are planning to travel or relocate abroad for extended periods of time (more than six months consecutively) may require a re-entry permit.  If you have questions regarding these new biometrics requirements, or travel documentation in general, please contact your MVA Immigration Team contact.