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USCIS Releases Details on DACA-Related Travel in Proposed Revisions to Form I-131 (1 of 2):

On November 27, 2012, USCIS published a request for comments on the Federal Register for its proposed changes to Form I-131, Travel Document Application. Form I-131 has traditionally been used by three categories of foreign nationals to apply for permission to travel internationally: 1) Legal Permanent Residents or Conditional Permanent Residents seeking re-entry into the U.S., 2) Asylees or Refugees seeking travel documents to re-enter the U.S., and 3) Foreign Nationals seeking to be paroled back into the U.S.

In the parole category, USCIS has proposed changes to the existing Form I-131 to include a category for individuals who have received a grant of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Actual proposed changes to Form I-131 include extending the form from 3 pages to 5 pages. While the substance of the proposed changes to the form remains largely cosmetic (compare the current Form I-131 to the proposed draft Form I-131), the most significant aspects of the proposed changes reside not on the actual Form, but on the Form Instructions. Today’s Part 1 article discusses the proposed DACA-Related travel document application instructions.

We’ll follow up with a Part 2 article to discuss the legal issues raised in the instructions regarding “admission” and “departures.” In the proposed revised Form Instructions, USCIS provides greater details for individuals who have already been granted DACA to apply for Advanced Parole:

A. Provide an I-797 Notice of Action from USCIS or an approval order/notice/letter from ICE demonstrating a grant of DACA

B. An explanation of how your travel qualifies under one of the following criteria:

     1. Educational Purposes

  • A letter from a school employee acting in an official capacity describing the purpose of the travel and explaining why travel is required or beneficial; or,
  • A document showing enrollment in an educational program requiring travel.

     2. Employment Purposes

  • A letter from your employer or a conference host describing the need for the travel.

     3. Humanitarian Purposes

  • A letter from your physician explaining the nature of your medical condition, the specific medical treatment to be sought outside of the United States, and a brief explanation why travel outside the U.S. is medically necessary; or,
  • Documentation of a family member’s serious illness or death.

Remember, these guidelines have not yet been finalized.  The public is invited to provide written comment on these guidelines addressed to the OMB USCIS Desk Officer and DHS via email at[email protected] with reference to “OMB Control Number [1615-0013].” Thedeadline to submit comments is December 31, 2012. All comments submitted are made accessible to the public so please consider any sensitive or confidential information when submitting your comments.

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog post is provided for educational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice or as a substitute for legal counsel.  The updates may be revised without advance notice.   If you have questions regarding properly applying for DACA or other DACA-Related issues, please consult a qualified immigration attorney.