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USCIS Revises Biometric Instructions for Reentry Permits and Refugee Travel Documents


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued revised instructions for Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. The instructions include changes that require applicants for re-entry permits and refugee travel documents to provide biometrics (e.g., fingerprints and photographs) at a USCIS Application Support Center (ASC) for background and security checks and to meet requirements for secure travel and entry documents containing biometric identifiers.

The new instructions for the I-131 require that applicants for re-entry permits and refugee travel documents who are ages 14 through 79 provide biometrics before departing from the U.S. Applicants 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 for a refugee travel document or a re-entry permit, USCIS will mail the applicant his or her receipt and an ASC scheduling notice. Certain overseas USICS offices may, in their discretion, accept and adjudicate an I-131 filed for a refugee travel document (but not a re-entry permit), where the applicant has failed to apply while in the U.S. Applicants for refugee travel documents should not count on the overseas offices necessarily agreeing to accept and adjudicate an I-131 in all cases, however, particularly where it is evident to the agency that the individual could have applied while in the U.S. and attended his or her biometrics appointment.

If applicants require expedited processing, the instructions provide specific information for submitting pre-paid express mailers with the I-131 for USCIS to send the applicant his or her receipt and ASC appointment notice, as well as the completed re-entry permit or refugee travel document, if approved. A request for expedited processing should contain the applicant’s reasons for such processing so that USCIS may determine whether the applicant qualifies for expedited processing.

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Ivener & Fullmer LLP, a nationally recognized law firm, has successfully assisted hundreds of clients in immigration matters.

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