Refugee Travel Document

Most refugees, asylees, or persons who have become a permanent resident as a result of being a refugee or asylee in the U.S. need to apply for a Refugee Travel Document if planning to travel outside the U.S. Unless you are in possession of a valid advance parole document, attempting to reenter the U.S. without a Refugee Travel Document will result in you being inadmissible. However, the travel document does not relieve you of any U.S. immigration law requirements. Because you are still subject to an immigration inspection at the port of entry to determine admissibility into the U.S., mere possession of a Refugee Travel Document does not guarantee you admission into the U.S., You may additionally be subject to a “secondary inspection” in which you will be taken into a separate room and asked questions.


You can apply for a Refugee Travel Document if you are in the U.S. as a:

  • Refugee or asylee and have valid status
  • Became a permanent resident in the U.S. through your refugee or asylee status.

You cannot apply for a refugee travel document:

  • If you currently have a Refugee Travel Document, unless the past document has been returned to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), or you can prove it was lost; or
  • If a notice was published in the Federal Register that prohibits the issuance of such a document for travel to the area where you plan to travel.


  • The validity of a Refugee Travel Document is for one year or to the date the refugee or asylee status expires, whichever comes first.
  • A Refugee Travel Document may not be extended.


A separate application form, fees and set of documents are required for each applicant (including yourself and each of your family members) who needs to travel.

  • The application fee must be sent with the application.
    There is also a biometric fee.
    Fee details
  • A Form I-131, Application For Travel Document
    Sample I-131
  • Photos
    Submit 2 identical photographs.
  • Copy of an official photo identity document that shows your name, photo, and date of birth. e.g., a government issued valid driver’s license, identity page of passport, permanent resident card, or any other official identity document.
  • A Form I-94 cannot be used as a photo identity document.
  • Include a copy of the document showing your refugee or asylee status and the expiration date of such status you received from USCIS or former INS.
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Filing The Application

Application filing instructions

USCIS Phoenix or Dallas Lockbox, based on where you live:

Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Guam or the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands

USCIS Phoenix Lockbox

U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Deliveries


PO Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036-1281

Express mail and courier deliveries:


Attn: NFB (Box 21281)
2108 E. Elliot Rd.
Tempe, AZ 85284-1806

If you live in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, U.S. Virgin Islands, or West Virginia

USCIS Dallas Lockbox

For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Deliveries


PO Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266-0867

For Express mail and courier deliveries:


Attn: NFB (Box 660867)
2501 S. State Hwy. 121, Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067-8003


If you are filing at a USCIS Lockbox facility, you may elect to receive an email and/or text message (SMS) notifying you that your application has been accepted.

You must complete a Form G-1145, E-Notification of your application.

Biometric Services Requirement

Applicants between the age of 14 and 79 years must be fingerprinted. Sometime after the USCIS receives your application, they will notify you in writing of the time and location where you must go to get fingerprinted, and if necessary, take your photograph and signature.

If you do not appear for your biometric appointment, your application will be denied.


If your application is denied, you will receive a letter from the USCIS explaining how to appeal. The appeal must be done within 33 days after receiving the denial letter and filed on a Form I-290-B. Mail a Form I-290-B to the office that made the original decision. Once the appeal form and fee are processed, the case is then referred to the Administrative Appeals Unit (AAU) in Washington, DC.

Refugee Travel Document

You must be physically present in the U.S. when filing the application. Leaving the U.S. before a decision has been decided does not affect the application. However, you may request your Refugee Travel Document to be sent to a U.S. embassy or consulate or Department of Homeland Security (DHS) office abroad when you file the application. There is a place on the Form I-131 to furnish the information necessary to receive the Refugee Travel Document outside of the U.S. However, under certain circumstances if you did not apply for a Refugee Travel Document before departure you may be eligible to apply abroad. This is decided at the discretion of the district director having jurisdiction over a port-of-entry or pre-inspection station where an alien is an applicant for admission or an overseas district director having jurisdiction over the place where an alien is physically present granted:

  • Applicant must submit a Form I-131, with the appropriate fee;
  • You did not plan to abandon your refugee status at the time of departure from the U.S. concluded by the district director;
  • You did not participate in any activities that would jeopardize your refugee or asylee status while outside the U.S.;
  • You have been outside the U.S. for less than one year since your last departure.
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For visitors, travel, student and other international travel medical insurance.

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The travel document will be invalid if you obtained it by making a false representation or concealment in the application or if you are removed or deported from the U.S. If the United Nations Convention of July 28, 1951, cease to apply or shall not apply to you as provided in Article 1C, D, E or F of the Convention than the Refugee Travel Document is invalid.

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For visitors, travel, student and other international travel medical insurance.

Visit or call +1 (866) INSUBUY or +1 (972) 985-4400