My thoughts on asylees traveling back to home country... After reading for many hours, searching the web, thread after thread on immigration forums, reading the Immigration laws of the United States of America, researching many, many sites that address issues of interests for US immigrants as well as directly related to asylees/refugees, this is what I think: YOU CAN DEFINITELY TRAVEL BACK TO HOME COUNTRY, BEARING IN MIND THE FOLLOWING TWO CONSIDERATIONS: 1. You should not travel back home immediately after you receive your Permanent Resident status approval. Some people have compared it to getting divorced the next day after getting Green Card through marriage to US citizen, or quitting your job after getting employment based Green Card. It’s just commons sense. I would advise to wait for at least 6 months after you get your Green Card, and the more you wait, the better and the less likely you are to encounter ‘resistance’ at a port of entry when you get back to the US. 2. The second consideration is that you do not travel for lengthy periods of time. Your stay back at your home country should be as short as possible; I would say a maximum of 2 weeks is safe enough to not raise any suspicion. If you have to stay longer, you’d better document the reasons why you did it, be it sick relatives or something that bears some sort of weight before an immigration officer. How did I get to this conclusion, you might ask. Well, like I said, I spent many hours researching this issue, on the web, book and even on the phone. Though I found many conflicting opinions, my objective understanding of the law is this. 1. Remember that asylum/refugee status is based upon a ‘reasonable fear of persecution on account of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion’ (taken from USCIS website). What might have been extremely difficult conditions to live in a given country at a given point in the past, might have changed after a few years and the fear is no longer there, one might feel more secure to return to home country, but not to stay, just to visit relatives, etc. 2. The laws strictly prohibit an asylee/refugee from returning home as they might jeopardize their status. This only applies to people that have asylee/refugee status and have not adjusted to permanent residents or citizens. One can remain as an asylee/refugee/ for many years without ever having to adjust to permanent resident status or become a citizen. The US does not require or ask you to adjust or become citizen, it’s you who decides if you actually want to take that step. 3. If you become a permanent resident through asylum, you immediately acquire all the rights and responsibilities of any other permanent resident, be it through marriage, employment, investment, etc. ‘Some of you came as refugees or were given asylum status….. But now that you are Permanent Residents you all share the same status…..A Permanent Resident of the United States can travel freely outside of the US. A passport from the country of citizenship is normally all that is needed. To reenter the US a Permanent Resident normally needs to present the green card for readmission.’ (taken from USCIS website). 4. An asylee does not need a Refugee Travel Document to leave and reenter the country. The RTD is only a measure put in place (in accordance with Article 28 of the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees) to facilitate travel for those whose country of origin will not issue a passport for whatever reason. If you are from a country with diplomatic representation in the US, and are able to get your national passport issued, you can do so, get the required visas stamped to travel outside the US and come back with no problem, just like any other permanent resident. You do not need a RTD. If you can’t get a passport from your country of origin, then the RTD comes into play and you would need to get one before traveling anywhere outside the US. 5. You might/will be questioned as to what the purpose of your trip back home was, your length of stay, etc. This is normal procedure for Immigration officers, and they might even try to give you a hard time, and make annotations on your file. This will all come back when/if you apply for naturalization, it’s just a matter of documenting and reasonably explaining the purpose of your trip. 6. Get it in your head: Once you are a permanent resident, you are not an asylee/refugee anymore. Such status is gone after you ADJUST. It will remain in your file how you became a PR, but you are not an asylee/refugee anymore, YOU ARE NOW A PERMANENT RESIDENT. If you were receiving benefits from the US government, from the UN or any other office for refugee/asylee resettlement, you will probably lose those benefits after you become a resident, because you are not considered an asylee anymore. Asylee/refugee is a temporary status. I hope this clarifies some of your thoughts on this issue. If you do decide to travel, always keep in mind the first two considerations cited above. Other than that, have a good trip!