Form I-131 Filing Fee: Current Costs and Payment Guide

Individuals who wish to travel while in the United States under certain immigration statuses may need to file Form I-131, known as the Application for Travel Document, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This document serves as a request for permission to re-enter the country after traveling abroad and covers several different types of travel documents, such as Reentry Permits and Advance Parole. USCIS necessitates this step to ensure that individuals with pending applications or certain immigration benefits maintain their eligibility while away from the U.S.
As part of the filing process, applicants must pay a filing fee, which is determined by the specific type of travel document they are requesting, as well as other factors such as the applicant’s age and the reason for travel. The fee supports the administrative costs of processing the application and is a prerequisite for consideration of the document. Certain applicants, such as those applying for a Refugee Travel Document, may have different fee requirements.
It is crucial for applicants to stay up-to-date with the most current fee information and filing procedures, as these can be subject to change. As of the last update, the filing fee for Form I-131 for most applicants stands at $575.00. This fee must be submitted before the applicant attends a consular interview or files the form at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, when applying from outside of the United States.

Eligibility Criteria for Form I-131

Eligibility for Form I-131, or the Application for Travel Document, varies depending on the type of travel document one is applying for. There are several categories of individuals who may apply:

  • Reentry Permit: Lawful permanent residents and conditional residents may apply if they seek to reenter the U.S. after temporary international travel of more than one year but less than two years.
  • Refugee Travel Document: Individuals granted asylum or refugee status in the U.S. must apply for this document before traveling outside the United States to ensure their return.
  • Advance Parole: Individuals who have applied for adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident or certain other categories may use this document to travel internationally during application processing.

The specific criteria for eligibility are as follows:

Document Type Eligibility Criteria
Reentry Permit Applicants must be lawful permanent or conditional residents.
Refugee Travel Document Applicants must have refugee or asylee status.
Advance Parole Applicants usually have pending applications for adjustment of status or other specified immigration benefits.

Applicants should have all required supporting documentation and establish that their travel is for a valid purpose. They must adhere to the application process, filing timelines, and documentation requirements as outlined by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Compliance with all instructions is imperative to avoid processing delays or denial of the application. Form I-131 must be properly completed, submitted along with the correct fee, and meet the current USCIS regulations and policies at the time of filing.

Application Process for Form I-131

To procure a travel document via Form I-131, an applicant needs to aggregate the required documentation, adhere to a series of application steps, and follow specific mailing instructions.

Required Documentation

The applicant must provide evidence of their status, such as a copy of a green card or current visa. Additionally, they must furnish two passport-style photos and any other documents that support their reentry to the U.S. after travel.

Steps to Apply

  1. Complete Form I-131: Fill out the application accurately and entirely.
  2. Pay the Fee: As of the latest information, the filing fee is $575.00, payable via credit or debit card or U.S. bank account.
  3. Assemble the Application Package: This includes the completed Form I-131, the filing fee receipt, and all required documentation.
  4. Sign and Date: Ensure the form is signed and dated before submission.

Mailing Instructions

The applicant must send the completed application package to the appropriate USCIS Lockbox Facility. The exact address can vary based on the applicant’s location and can be found on the official USCIS website. The submission should include tracking to ensure delivery confirmation.

Filing Fee Details

When submitting Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, applicants should be aware of the current filing fee, acceptable payment methods, and circumstances under which they may be exempt from the fee.

Fee Amount

The filing fee for Form I-131 is $575.00. This is mandatory for applicants who need a travel document to re-enter the United States.

Payment Methods

Applicants can pay the Form I-131 filing fee using the following methods:

  • Credit or debit cards (subject to a transaction limit of $24,999.99 per day per card)
  • U.S. bank accounts The payment must be made in full and included in the filing package.

Fee Exemptions

Fee exemptions apply in certain instances:

  • Applicants filing Form I-131 together with Form I-485 (Application to Adjust Status) are not required to pay a separate fee for Form I-131, provided the I-485 application fee is paid.
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries may receive travel authorization without a fee at the discretion of USCIS.

Biometrics Appointment

When an individual applies for a travel document with USCIS, they may need to attend a Biometrics Appointment. This appointment is vital for USCIS to confirm the applicant’s identity and conduct necessary background and security checks.

Scheduling and Notice: The applicant will receive an appointment notice, Form I-797C, which will provide details such as:

  • Date of appointment
  • Time of appointment
  • Location (typically an Application Support Center, or ASC)

At the Appointment: During the appointment, the applicant will provide:

  • Fingerprints
  • Photograph
  • Signature

This information is used to verify identity and aid in ensuring accurate and efficient processing of the travel document application.

What to Bring: Applicants must bring the following items to their Biometrics Appointment:

  • Appointment notice (Form I-797C)
  • Valid photo identification (e.g., passport, driver’s license)

It is essential for applicants to arrive on time and with the necessary documents to avoid delays in the processing of their application.

Processing Times and Status Tracking

When filing Form I-131, the Application for Travel Document, it is important to be aware of the processing times and options for status tracking. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) typically updates processing times based on the analysis of completed cases from the previous month.

Processing Times:

  • Form I-131: Processing times can vary based on case complexity and workload at the service centers. Applicants can check the USCIS website for the most up-to-date information.
  • Travel Authorization for TPS Beneficiaries: A specific travel document, Form I-512T, may be issued at USCIS’s discretion.

Tracking the status of Form I-131 is straightforward with the online Case Status Online tool provided by USCIS:

  1. Visit the USCIS Case Status Online page.
  2. Enter the 13-character receipt number associated with the application. Exclude any dashes but include all other characters, such as asterisks.

Note:

  • The receipt number is uniquely generated for each application, starting with three letters followed by ten numbers.
  • Applicants should regularly check their case status to stay updated on their application’s progress.

For convenience, some applicants may be eligible for premium processing for an additional fee. This service expedites the review process.

Document Type Regular Processing Time Premium Processing Time
Travel Document (Form I-131) Varies Not available

Applicants should ensure all fees are calculated correctly, which can be done using the USCIS Fee Calculator tool, and that they understand processing times are approximate and subject to change.

Renewal and Reentry Permits

When permanent residents or individuals on temporary protected status in the United States wish to travel abroad and ensure their return, they may need to apply for renewal and reentry permits using Form I-131, known as the Application for Travel Document.

Reentry Permit: This document is crucial for permanent residents who plan to stay outside the United States for a period of one year or more. It serves as evidence of their intention to maintain permanent residency and is valid for two years from the date of issuance, not extendable. To apply, the individual must be physically present in the United States at the time of filing.

Application Process and Fees:

  • Filing Fee: As of the latest update, the filing fee for Form I-131 is $575.00.
  • Biometrics Fee: If required, an additional fee for biometrics services may apply.
  • Payment Method: Applicants must pay the fee using a credit or debit card or through a U.S. bank account.

To ensure the issuance of a reentry permit, applicants must file while in the United States. They can request to have their reentry permit sent to a U.S. Embassy, consulate, or a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) office overseas for pickup. However, biometrics, if applicable, must be submitted while the applicant is in the United States and cannot be done abroad.

Document Validity:

  • A reentry permit is typically valid for two years for permanent residents.
  • The document’s validity for conditional residents expires on the same date as their conditional status.

Applicants should note that reentry permits do not substitute for a visa and may have to apply for a returning resident visa (SB-1) at a U.S. consulate or embassy if their permit has expired.

Emergency Travel Situations

In emergency travel situations, an individual may need to expedite the processing of Form I-131, known as the Application for Travel Document. This form is crucial for individuals seeking a reentry permit or an advance parole document, which allows them to re-enter the U.S. after traveling abroad.

Common Reasons for Expedited Requests:

  • Severe financial loss to an individual or company
  • Emergency situations, such as sudden illness or death of a family member
  • Humanitarian reasons, including urgent medical treatment
  • Requests by a nonprofit organization for cultural or social interests of the U.S.

Expedited Processing Steps:

  1. Gather evidence: Documentation proving the emergency (e.g., medical documents, death certificates).
  2. Visit USCIS office: In-person submission can facilitate an emergency request.

USCIS retains the discretion to grant or deny expedited processing, and such requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. It’s critical for applicants to understand that even in an emergency, they must abide by the travel document rules to maintain the validity of their ongoing applications.

Common Issues and Resolutions

When applicants file the I-131, Application for Travel Document, they may encounter several issues related to fees. Here are common problems and straightforward solutions to ensure smooth processing.

Issue: Uncertain Fee Amounts
Resolution: Applicants should use the USCIS Fee Calculator to determine the correct amount. Fees vary depending on the application type.

Issue: Waiver Eligibility
Resolution: For those eligible, the I-131 filing fee can be waived. Eligibility criteria include applicants filing for a Refugee Travel Document or an Advance Parole Document under certain circumstances. The USCIS Form I-912 must be submitted for fee waiver requests.

Issue: Separate Payments for Associated Forms
Resolution: If the I-131 application is filed with other forms that require fees, separate payments must be made. For instance, the Form I-907 for premium processing requires a separate fee.

Issue: Incorrect Fee Submission
Resolution: If an applicant submits an incorrect fee, USCIS is likely to reject the application. Ensure that the fee submitted matches the current USCIS fee schedule.

To avoid application rejection, always verify fee amounts and payment instructions directly with current USCIS guidelines and utilize resources like the USCIS Fee Calculator for accuracy. Applications must include correct fees or completed waiver requests to prevent processing delays.

Filing Tips:

  • Recheck the USCIS website for the most recent fee information before filing.
  • Make sure to include all necessary forms and payments to avoid incomplete application submission.
  • Follow the specific mailing instructions provided by USCIS for fee payments.