U.S. Travel Documents Redesigned to Prevent Counterfeit

Refugees, asylees, permanent alien residents will use the documents

The U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is announcing a new travel document redesigned to prevent counterfeit and enhance security.

The documents will be issued to permanent residents, refugees and asylees allowing their re-entry into the United States after travel abroad. A November 24 press release said the documents will help keep the United States safer by preventing illegal production of documents by people who might do the United States harm. New production methods adopted by USCIS will also allow faster processing of the documents and delivery to customers. Documents of this kind are used by more than 200,000 people each year.

Following is the text of the press release:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
November 24, 2003


Washington D.C. - Eduardo Aguirre, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), today announced the production of a new, re-designed travel document. Those documents, which allow permanent residents, refugees and asylees to re-enter the United States following travel abroad, incorporate increased security features aimed at eliminating a counterfeiter's ability to duplicate them.

"We're taking advantage of the latest state-of-the-art technology to produce new travel documents," said Director Aguirre. "In the process, USCIS is addressing two major priorities. First, we're making America safer by adding security features that frustrate the illegal production of these documents. Second, we're improving production techniques and processes allowing us to get these documents into the hands of our customers more quickly."

Produced at the USCIS Nebraska Service Center, the new travel documents utilize the same patented personalization process as the current U.S. passport. This includes a digitized integrated photo, which has proven difficult for counterfeiters to duplicate. The redesigned document also features a number of covert or hidden features that require sophisticated forensic equipment to view.

The new travel document is light green in color and resembles the size and shape of the U.S. passport. It replaces the existing refugee travel document and the re-entry permit for permanent residents. Refugee travel documents and re-entry permits currently in circulation will remain valid until the expiration dates printed on those documents.

Annually more than 200,000 people apply for travel documents. The use of new production equipment and techniques allows USCIS to increase by ten fold the daily production rate for these documents.


On March 1, 2003, U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services became one of three legacy INS components to join the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. USCIS is charged with fundamentally transforming and improving the delivery of immigration and citizenship services, while enhancing the integrity of our nation's security.

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