\ afm \ Adjudicator's Field Manual - Redacted Public Version \ Chapter 53 Refugee Travel Documents. \ 53.1 Background.
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Effective August 1, 1973, the Service adopted regulations which authorized the issuance of refugee travel documents (RTDs) to certain refugees in the United States. This action was a result of the U.S. Government's acceptance (in 1968) of the 1967 Protocol adopting the U.N. Convention on Refugees. Under the Convention, the contracting states undertook to issue travel documents to refugees staying in their territories.
Originally, RTDs were adjudicated and produced in local INS offices. On October 4, 1993, all RTD adjudication and production functions were consolidated at the Nebraska Service Center.
A refugee travel document may be valid (generally) for not more than one year from the date of issuance, but may not be renewed. One exception is that if an RTD is issued to an alien who is a Conditional Permanent Resident, it may not be issued beyond the date on which his or her conditional residence status is due to expire (i.e., two years from the date of admission or adjustment of status) or one year from the RTD’s issuance date, whichever comes first. (
While it is extremely rare, it is possible for someone who had been granted refugee or asylee status to adjust to permanent residence on some other basis, such as through marriage to a citizen. If the adjustment to permanent residence occurred within two years of the asylee/refugee’s marriage to a citizen, the residence would be conditional in accordance with
of the Act. Such alien would be eligible either a reentry permit or a refugee travel document, but not both at the same time.)
Regulations which became effective on April 1, 1997, allow (under limited circumstances) an alien to apply for, and
to approve, an RTD filed after the alien’s departure. This procedure is discussed in
Inspection of Applicant for Admission Bearing an RTD
Inspector’s Field Manual