Work and Travel Permits During the Green Card Process: Pros and Cons


If you apply for a green card of the United States (otherwise known as “status adjustment” process), you may have heard of Form I-765 and Form I-131.

Form I-765 (Request for work authorization) and Form I-131 (Travel Document Application) allows green card applicants to legally work in the United States and travel in and out of the country while the green card is pending. Let’s look at the pros and cons of including work permit and travel permit forms in your green card application.

Do I need to include these forms in my green card application?

Including Form I-765 and/or Form I-131 in your adjustment of status (green card) application is optional. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not require applicants to include either form on their completed application. It is therefore at your discretion to decide whether to complete and file the work permit and travel forms during the green card process. Now that the forms have additional fees, some individuals and families may choose not to include them on their application to save on filing fees.

It is important to note that the green card process can be lengthy, depending on the USCIS field office processing your application and the details of your specific case. USCIS processing times change often, but for many applicants, it can take several months or even years to have a green card in hand – and with it, the ability to work and travel freely.

Benefits of work and travel permit

Work in the United States

If you would like to have the opportunity to work and earn a living in the United States while waiting for your green cardyou will need to complete Form I-765 and include it in your application for adjustment of status.


To work in the United States, you must have official work authorization from USCIS. Any unauthorized work could have serious consequences on your immigration process and your ability to remain in the country.

Learn more about working in the United States with a pending green card application. The limitless guide.

Avoid travel hassles

If you think you might need it travel outside the United States for any reason while your green card is pending, it may be beneficial to file Form I-131. Obtaining the Advance Parole Travel Document provides the freedom and flexibility to leave and re-enter the United States in the event of a family event or overseas emergency, without jeopardizing your green card application.


Without a valid travel document, your green card application will be terminated if you leave the United States while your application is still pending.

Learn more about traveling abroad with a pending green card application in The limitless guide.

Disadvantages of work and travel permit


Forms I-765 and I-131 have long been free to be included in a family green card (adjustment of status) application. This means that green card applicants can complete Forms I-765 and I-131 along with their Adjustment of Status Form (Form I-485), at no additional cost.

However, on April 1, 2024, USCIS rolled out a new fee structurewhich increased the filing fees for Form I-765 and Form I-131.

Form I-765 now costs $260 when filed as part of an adjustment of status application, while Form I-131 costs $630.

While these fees may be manageable for some applicants, they may be a financial burden for others, especially given the already significant costs associated with the green card application process.

Additional forms to complete

If you choose to file Form I-765 and/or Form I-131, this adds additional work when preparing your green card application. Both forms must be completed thoroughly, accurately, and in accordance with USCIS standards.

Both Forms I-765 and I-131 have their own requirements, including specific questions that must be answered and supporting documents that must be included when filing. If errors or problems are found in Form I-765 or Form I-131, this could cause complications that could delay the overall green card application.

The essential

Including work permit and travel forms in your green card application has both advantages and disadvantages.

Generally, if you choose to file Form I-765, you have the opportunity to legally work in the United States while your green card application is pending. This can be helpful for many green card applicants when settling in a new country and starting their career in the United States.

Filing Form I-131 ensures that you will be able to travel within and outside the United States in the event of an emergency or significant event abroad while your green card is pending. For many green card applicants, obtaining the early parole document provides peace of mind during the green card process.

Although work and travel permits provide increased financial security and travel flexibility, they are not without cost. The new high fees for Forms I-765 and I-131 could deter budget-conscious applicants from including them on their applications. The immigration process can be expensive and some may need to be more selective in handling optional costs when applying. Overall, it is up to each individual to weigh the pros and cons of work and travel permits and decide what is best for their immigration journey.

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