USCIS Updates Practice of Denying Pending Forms I-131 for Abandonment Due to International Travel

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director L. Francis Cissna recently revealed USCIS will end the practice of denying pending I-131 applications when applicants are traveling overseas.

Director Cissna revealed this news during the Nov. 16, 2018, Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) Ombudsman Annual Conference. Director Cissna did not indicate when the change would be implemented, only that it would be forthcoming. Currently, USCIS can deny pending I-131 applications when the applicant departs the United States, complicating the applicant’s ability to travel internationally and re-enter the United States in the future.

Envoy Global and its affiliated law firm, Global Immigration Associates P.C., will monitor this proposal and provide updates accordingly.

What is Form I-131? 

Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, is used by applicants to apply for advance parole, a refugee travel document or a reentry permit.

Typically, some foreign national individuals may file a Form I-131 before traveling abroad to help them reenter the U.S.

Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Sara Herbek, who is the Managing Partner at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (, Envoy’s affiliated law firm.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-retained attorney or another qualified professional.