9 FAM 203.7
Refugee Travel documents
(Office of Origin: CA/VO)
9 FAM 203.7-1 Issuance of Refugee Travel Documents
DHS issues refugee travel documents on Form I-571, Refugee Travel Document, in implementation of Article 28 of the United Nations Convention of July 28, 1951. Form I-571 entitles refugees to return to the United States, provided such persons have not abandoned their residence, lost their refugee status, or become excludable. A valid Refugee Travel Document issued to an asylee, refugee or lawful permanent resident (LPR) should be regarded as a reentry permit. In some instances, an LPR may be issued a refugee travel document, but only upon surrender of any prior reentry permit. Occasionally consular sections receive issued refugee travel documents for delivery to refugees abroad temporarily. Posts should follow the same delivery guidance as for re-entry permit delivery (see 9 FAM 202.2-4(D)(2)).
9 FAM 203.7-2 Refugees with Other Travel Documents
a. Posts are occasionally contacted by aliens who were admitted to the United States as refugees or who were granted asylum, and who subsequently departed without obtaining a Form I-571, Refugee Travel Document. If such an alien has been outside of the United States for one year or less, the consular officer should refer him or her to the USCIS Office abroad that has jurisdiction over the person’s location, where he or she may be authorized to file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, to apply for a Form I-571. USCIS has the discretion to decide whether to accept the Form I-131 filing abroad. If such an alien has been outside of the United States for more than 1 year, the consular officer may refer him or her to USCIS website for information on how to apply for parole to return to the United States.
b. Refugees and asylees who obtained a Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card, and traveled abroad, but who are unable to return due to having an expired, lost or stolen Form I-551, are not eligible for refugee processing. If they are not eligible for a waiver of documentary requirements and do not have an unexpired immigrant visa, reentry permit or other valid entry document, they are potentially eligible for humanitarian parole. Refer such aliens to the USCIS website for instructions on how to apply. (See also 9 FAM 202.2-4 for more on LPR travel with Form I-551, including situations involving expired lost or stolen I-551 cards, boarding foils, and other documents.)
9 FAM 203.7-3 Lost Refugee Travel Documents
When an alien claims to have lost Form I-571, the consular officer should send a telegram requesting verification to DHS/HQ, Washington, D.C. (ATTN: HQIAO), the appropriate district director, and the Department (ATTN: VO/F). The alien's full name, date and place of birth, and the DHS "A" number if known, must be included in the text of the telegram. Upon DHS verification of the alien's refugee status, the consular officer should issue a boarding authorization letter (see 9 FAM 202.3-4(D)). The refugee will be readmitted to the United States as a parolee, not as a refugee.