Permanent residents who require a re-entry permit to return to the United States after traveling abroad for more than an year can no longer simply file and leave, according to a new USCIS requirement.
Now, they must wait for an appointment to provide fingerprints and photographs (i.e. biometrics) first.
The new policy also applies to refugees needing a Refugee Travel Document, but it does NOT apply to those seeking Advance Parole. The same Form I-131 is used for all three forms of permission to return.
This new requirement became effective March 5, 2007. After providing biometrics, the applicant may then travel and, just as before, and have the approval sent to the embassy for pick up overseas.
Although USCIS offers an expedite service, this new requirement promises to wreck further havoc on travel plans, given the frequent delays in processing applications.