Travel And Work Permits: Other Important Documents To Get While Applying For Your Green Card
While applying for your adjustment of status, it makes sense to apply for two other INS documents:
One is Form I-131 Petition for Travel Document. Technically speaking, your fiancé cannot leave the country until her Permanent Residency is approved, i.e. she gets her Green Card. Getting a Green Card may take a minimum of several months and may take as long as two years.
If she does leave, she may not be readmitted to the United States. The fiancé visa is a visa that allows entry into the US one time. It is not a visa that allows you to come and go in and out of the US at will.
The Form I-131 Travel Document allows your fiancé to travel outside the country before her Green Card is issued.
Technically speaking, there has to be a compelling reason for issuing the Travel Document. The INS is not obligated to issue the Travel Document. You must qualify for it.
The most compelling reason is that a family member is ill and may need your wife to return any time in the next year to her native country. In my case, my wife’s mother is not in the best of health. My wife used this reason for qualifying for the Travel Document.
Be as vague in the timing of your trip(s) and the countries you are planning to visit as possible on your application. If you state you are only going to Russia, and you and your fiancé go to Jamaica for a vacation, the US Passport Officer may question the use of your wife’s Travel Document upon your reentry into the United States.
The other document you want to apply for at the same time as your adjustment of status is Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization.
The Application for Employment Authorization allows your wife to work while she is waiting for her Green Card to be processed. As stated before, processing of the Green Card can take up to two years.
Your wife has no legal right to work in the United States until she has either a Permanent Residency Card (Green Card) or an Employment Authorization Card.
The Employment Authorization Card is issued right at the time you file your initial application for Permanent Residency, so your wife can start working right after your marriage with this card. The employment authorization card is good for one year. Your wife should hopefully receive her Green Card by then.
The Travel Document requires a five-minute interview. The interview is usually scheduled a few weeks to a few months after your initial application for permanent residency.
The Travel Document is mailed to you a few weeks after the brief interview.
About the Author: John has been successfully married to a Belarussian wife for over five years. He has traveled extensively through Russia and other CIS countries. He will tell you why you should consider Russian women, how to meet them, how to bring your special woman home, and how to survive married life.