Reentry Permit for Legal Permanent Residents
A reentry permit may be required for legal permanent resident, depending on how long an individual plans to leave the U.S. Generally, a short-term trip does not require a reentry permit and a permanent resident would only need to provide Customs and Border Protection officers with their green card in order to reenter the United States. This entry will focus on instances where a reentry permit should be applied for before planning to leave the United States.
What is a Reentry Permit?
The purpose of a reentry permit is to establish that an individual did not intend to abandon their permanent resident status. It allows a permanent resident to travel outside of the United States for a period of up to two years without having to obtain a returning visa.
Why Would Someone Need a Reentry Permit?
Obtaining a reentry permit prior to an extended trip outside of the U.S. can alleviate two potential problems:
- A permanent resident green card becomes technically invalid for reentry into the U.S. if the green card holder is absent from the U.S. for one year or more; and
- A green card holder’s permanent residence could be considered abandoned for absences shorter than one year if residence is taken up in another country.
The permit also has an additional benefit for individuals who cannot or do not wish to get a passport from their home country. Many countries allow U.S. permanent residents to use their reentry permits like a passport. The reentry permit may be stamped with visas and exit/entry stamps. It is recommended to check with that country’s travel department before applying for a reentry permit if it is to be used for this purpose.
How Does Someone Apply for a Reentry Permit?
Form I-131, Application for Travel Document is used to apply for a reentry permit. This application should be submitted to USCIS far in advance of the proposed trip in order to allow time for processing and approval. It is recommended that this form be submitted no less than sixty days before a permanent resident plans to travel abroad. Form I-131 can only be submitted by an applicant if they are physically present in the United States.
Minor mistakes on Form I-131 can cause costly delays and potential denials. Consider setting up a consult with an attorney at Gilles Law, PLLC. You can reach us at 980-272-8438 at our office in Uptown Charlotte. We are here to assist with your inquiries.
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