Complete Guide to Form I-193

Updated on April 10, 2024

At a Glance

  • Form I-193 is an application used by lawful permanent residents of the United States who need to re-enter the country but don’t have a valid visa or passport.
  • It allows them to enter the U.S. at a port of entry without these documents.
  • The form requires personal information and details about previous visas and passports.
  • It should be filed at the local USCIS office with the correct filing fee, which is non-refundable. Payment can be made by money order or check in U.S. dollars. Personal checks are subject to collection.

Are you a lawful permanent resident of the United States and planning to travel to another country? Are you concerned about your lack of visa or passport and are wondering how you will be able to enter the U.S. again?

Well, don’t worry, we have the answer. You can simply file a Form I-193. Let’s take a look at how it works. 

What is Form I-193?

Usually, to enter a country, you either need a visa or a passport issued from that country. The United States is no exception. To enter the United States from another country, you generally need to present a visa stamped in your passport issued from your home country or possess an American passport. 

If you are a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., you might not have either. You won’t have a valid visa, and you may even not have a valid passport from your home country anymore. Many countries don’t issue passports to persons who are residents in other countries. Or perhaps you lost your original passport and are waiting for a new one. Since you need to be a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization to get an American passport, you won’t have that either. 

So, what can you do? The answer is you file a Form I-193, Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa. This form allows lawful permanent residents of the United States to enter the U.S. at a port of entry without a visa or passport.

Who Needs Form I-193?

The Form I-193 is similar to the Form I-192. You will need a Form I-193 if you are a lawful permanent resident of the United States and need to re-enter the U.S. after traveling to a different country. You will only need a Form I-193 if you don’t have a valid visa or passport to present to the border official, though. If this is the case, plan ahead and file your Form I-193 before you leave the U.S. so you can be sure you will be allowed back in.

How to Complete Form I-193

You will need to provide the following information on your Form I-193:

  • Your first name, middle name and last name
  • Your address in the United States (including the apartment number, street address, city, state and zip code)
  • Your permanent address abroad (if applicable)
  • The country of which you are a citizen, subject or national
  • Your place of birth
  • Your date of birth
  • Your date of arrival in the U.S
  • The port you will be arriving at
  • How you will be arriving (for example name of the vessel, airline, etc.)
  • The place your visa was previously issued from (including date, the classification, and date until which it was valid)
  • The place your passport was initially issued at (including date of issue and date until which it was valid)
  • The reason you do not have a visa or passport.

When completing your Form I-193, make sure you write neatly, clearly and legibly. Use black ink and try not to go over the spaces provided. Before you start completing your form, make sure you have the most updated version available on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website here. If you use an old version, you might not provide all the correct information the newest form requires.

Don’t skip any sections while completing your form and only complete it single-sided. Keep in mind the USCIS doesn’t allow the use of highlighters, correction fluid, or tape. If you do, the scanner scanning your form won’t input the information correctly on the system. So, if you make a mistake while completing your form, instead start over with a clean form. 

Finally, make sure you sign your Form I-193. If you don’t, it will be rejected. By signing the form, you certify the information you provided is true and correct. If someone else is preparing your Form I-193 on your behalf, they will need to sign the form. This is to confirm they have completed the form at your request and have provided information, which is to their knowledge true and correct.

Where to File Form I-193

You need to file your Form I-193 at the local USCIS office, which has jurisdiction over the port of entry you will be entering the United States at. You can find USCIS field offices by using the field office locator available here.

Make sure to use the correct filing address. If you don’t, your application could be rejected or marked as improperly filed. 

Form I-193 Cost

At the date of writing, the filing fee for Form I-193 is $585. You can check and make sure of the most updated filing fee for Form I-193 here.

Remember, this fee is final and non-refundable, irrespective of the action taken on your application. If you withdraw your request or your form doesn’t get approved, this fee will still not be refunded. The reason for this is you are paying for government service by filing your form and sending payment. You aren’t paying for a successful outcome.

Remember, you have to pay precisely the correct fee to the USCIS. Any overpayment or underpayment will be rejected, and you will have to submit payment (or possibly even your Form I-193) again. 

There are a few ways you can pay, as long as you don’t mail any cash. You can pay by money order or check. The bank or institution the funds are drawn from must be located in the United States. Payment must also be made in U.S. dollars. You must make the check or money order payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Don’t use any abbreviations like “USDHS” or “DHS” as this will be rejected. 

If you draw a check from someone else’s account, your name must be entered on the face of the check. If you are paying from outside of the U.S., you can make payment by a bank international money order or foreign draft drawn on a financial institution in the United States. This must also be payable to the Department of Homeland Security.

Personal checks will only be accepted subject to collection. If your check is uncollected, your application will be invalid. If your check is not honored by the bank on which it is drawn, the USCIS will also charge you a $30 penalty. 

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Conclusion

Plan ahead and make sure you don’t get yourself into an uncomfortable situation. If you are a lawful permanent resident and don’t have a visa or passport, but need to travel outside of the U.S., file a Form I-193. This way, you can travel with peace of mind knowing you’ll be able to re-enter without any trouble. 

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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