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The Re-Entry Permit/White Passport

If you are a green card holder, you may have heard about needing a “white passport” to re-enter the United States after undergoing a lengthy trip outside of the country. However, what is generally referred to as a white passport in the USis actually called a re-entry permit. In general, this documentallows you to travel outside of the country for six months or more without giving up your U.S. residency. As such, itcan ease international travel plans. Despite the fact that it is not officially a passport, this credential can serve as legal proof of U.S. residency while abroad.

If you are not a citizen of the United States and plan on leaving the country for more than six months, you should apply for a re-entry permit. However, if you plan on leaving the country for more than two years and do not want to renounce your residency, you must apply for a different document. As a general rule,awhite passportexpires after two years. The sections below describethe green card holder benefits related to this re-entry credential, as well as how to obtain one and which fees are applicable.

White Passport Benefits and Uses

Applying for a re-entry permit, otherwise known as awhite passport, indicates to the United States that you do not intend to give up on your residency in the country. As a general rule, if you hold a green card and leave the U.S. for an extended period of time, you may lose your residency status. That is because the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office may take long periods of travel as an indication that you intend to abandon your status. In that case, they may revoke your permanent residency status, forcing you to repeat the process of obtaining it.However, there are green card holder rules in place that allow you to leave the country for short trips.As such, getting a white passport benefits you, signaling to the USCIS that you intend to retain your residency.

Additionally, a green card holder benefits from holding a white passport because it can serve as a regular passport while abroad. Many green card holders do not have or want a passport from their country of birth. In such cases, are-entry permit from the USA serves as a green card travel document, identifying you as a U.S. resident. Furthermore, you have the option to leave the country before receiving your permit rather than waiting for the process to finish. However, you must specify the foreign address you want the permit to be sent to so you can pick it up. In that case, you will be required to pick up your permit while abroad in order to re-enter the United States.

How to Get a Re-Entry Permit in the USA

In order to request a re-entry permit before an international trip, you must submit Form I-131, otherwise known as an “Application for Travel Document.” This five-page re-entry permit form is also utilized for applicants to request advance parole and refugee travel documents. For that reason, it is important to understand which portions of the form you should fill out. To complete the re-entry permit form when requesting a white passport, fill out the following sections:

Do not fill out parts 6 or 7, as they are for separate document requests rather than re-entry permitcredentials. If an attorney or preparer helped you complete the form, he or she must fill outPart 9. Along with the form, you must also provide the necessary supplementary documents if you are applying for the first time, such as:

In addition, include a check or money order made out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This check should cover the relevant re-entry permit fee. Additionally, the address you should send your application to depends on the purpose of your travel and your current location. As such, the USCIS website details a list of addresses that you may have to submit your documents to. Make sure to send your application to the correct USCIS office included on that list.

Re-Entry Permit Fees

If you are 13 years of age or younger, or if you are 80 years of age or older, your re-entry permit fee is $575. If you are between 14 and 79 years of age, you must pay the $575 fee and an additional $85 biometric services fee. Thus, you must include a check or money order for the total amount in your application package for a white passport for green card holders. The total payment required is: