Some great things to know about the Re-Entry permit.
If you are a green card holder, you can easily travel to abroad countries, but as mentioned in the rules, if you stay more than a year outside the United States, your green card will be expired.
To prevent your green card from getting expired, you will need to apply for a re-entry permit before going for a long trip outside the United States. Here in this guide, you will get complete details about the re-entry permit.
What is a re-entry permit?
A reentry permit is a document required by the Green holders to travel abroad to the US for up to 2 years. A re-entry permit resembles a passport, but it is not usually a passport. It allows the green card holder to stay outside the United States for a longer period while maintaining their US residency and reenter safely without any complications.
Green cards and other travel documents can make things complicated if you stay outside the united states for more than a year. The reentry permit informs the US government that you are expected to return to the US after your trip. A re-entry permit is just like protection to all your related documents.
Key facts about re-entry permits
- A re-entry permit is referred to as travel documents which are much similar to a U.S. passport. This permit is usually for the green card holders willing to stay outside the United States for a longer period.
- A reentry permit plays an important role because it allows the green card holder to travel outside the United States freely. If you are outside the United States, this permit maintains your US residence. If you travel outside the United States for a longer time, you may lose residence, and your green card will also expire.
- Having a re-entry permit conveys to the US government that you intend to return and live in the United States after your abroad trip. Therefore, if you own a valid re-entry permit, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials don’t take your absence as you have abandoned your U.S. residence.
Note: No doubt if you have a re-entry permit, it ensures to go for the trip outside the US for more than a year, but still, in some cases, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials may take it as you have to abandon your residence. For example, suppose CBP officials make believe that you have permanently shifted to another country. To clear this thing, you will have to maintain a regular connection with the US and perform every duty as a resident through proper tax fillings, a U.S. mailing address, or a U.S. employer.
Documents needed for the reentry permit
When you apply for the reentry permit, the applicants need to submit the required forms and the needed documents for verification and processing purposes. The documents every applicant needs to attach with their reentry permit application are as follows:
- Duly completed Form I- 131, application for travel documents.
- Your most recent identical two passport-size photograph
- A physical copy of the valid ID proof shows your photo, Date of birth, and name. That official ID proof can be anything from passport, state-issued driver’s license, permanent resident card, etc.
- A copy of the Form I-797 ( if due to any reason you can’t show your permanent resident card)
All these documents are mandatory while applying for the reentry permit.
How to Apply for a Reentry Permit
In this section, we’ll guide you step-by-step on how to apply for a reentry permit.
Your permit application needs to be filed 60 days before your trip abroad as you will have to attend the biometric appointment before going on your abroad trip. Here are several steps that you need to follow while applying for the reentry permit:
Fill the form I-131
The first step while applying for the reentry permit is to properly complete and submit Form I-131, accompanied by the application for the travel document. It is usually a five-page form having an instruction of 16 pages; it is recommended to read the instructions properly.
You can get this form online. You can download the form and print it. You must answer all the asked questions while filling the form and mention N/A in the section that does not apply. Also, fill the Form G-1145; this form requests the USCIS to update you regarding your application status.
With the application, you will require to submit the mentioned documents, except the fees. The fees for the application will be paid afterward. For documents translation, you choose to hire uscis translation service.
Pay the Application Fee
In the next step, you will need to pay the application fee and the biometric verification fees. You can use a credit card or a money order to make the payment.
After that, you will need to mail all the documents to the USCIS office in your state.
Biometric Verification Appointment
The final step is to get the biometric verification session that the USCIS will arrange after submitting the form I-131 and once you have done with the fee payment. Attend the interview and answer all the questions asked by the office without fail.
If you do not attend the interview and leave the country, there are higher possibilities that your application will get rejected.
If you are from Spain and all your documents are in the Spanish language instead of English language. Don’t stress as by choosing a certified translation agency you can get Spanish to English translation.
Who needs a re-entry permit?
- A reentry permit is very important for lawful permanent residents if they plan for a long trip outside the US.
- The primary reason behind choosing to apply for the reentry permit is to show that you have an intention to maintain your Green card while going for a long trip abroad. If you are a green card holder and planning your trip to the abroad countries for more than a year, but less than two years, you must apply for the reentry permit.
- If you are planning your trip to an abroad country for less than a year, you won’t have to apply for the reentry permit as a green card is itself valid for one year so that you can move in and out of the valid green card within a valid green card the US. Moreover, you still need to maintain connections with the United States through work, family connections, and home addresses when traveling abroad.
- If you planned a trip of more than two years and did not apply for the reentry permit, you will not grant to enter the United States. Instead, you will require to apply for the SB-1 visa (also called a “returning resident visa”) by visiting the nearest US embassy before you return to the united states.
- If after applying for the green card but did not received the card, you will not be liable to apply for the reentry permit. Rather than this card, you must apply for advance parole if you plan to travel abroad, even if you are willing to have a short trip.
Refer to the green card application to get complete details about green card its benefits, validity, etc. Also by referring to the green card guide you will also come to know about all types of green card
Reentry Permit Cost
The application fee for the reentry permit is $575, with the biometric fee of $85. If you are hiring an immigration lawyer, their charges will be different.
Reentry Permit Processing Time
Compared with several other immigration-related applications processing, the processing time for the reentry permit application may vary. It may take up to three to seven months to get the permit issued.
It depends on the application volume, working days, unavoidable circumstances, and the correctness of your form. That’s why USCIS suggests every applicant apply for the permit 60 days prior to your departure for your abroad trip.
But it’s not mandatory for you to receive your permit physically. After undergoing the biometric appointment, you can travel to the other country, and you then receive your permit from the U.S. embassy once it gets approved.
How Long Is a Reentry Permit Valid?
The reentry permit is valid for two years. After issuing the permit, it allows you to go out of the United States for a maximum of two years after it expires. The permit gets active after the permit is issued and not from the day you leave the United States.
Moreover, there are some permanent residences for whom two years are not enough to complete their work.
Renewal of the reentry permit
You cannot renew or extend your reentry permit, so if your reentry permit expires, you will be required to move back to the United States and apply for the new reentry permit.
Note when you are applying for the reentry permit(Form I-131), you need to be physically present in the United States, and you will also be required to undergo the biometric appointment.
Moreover, before applying for a new reentry permit, you will have to surrender the previous one.
Since there is no limit on applying for the reentry permit, if you stay out of the United States four out of five years after obtaining the green card, you will only get the re-entry permit for only one year. (There are exceptions to the rule for the U.S. government employees, elite athletes, and in certain other cases.)
Remember that if you are a conditional permanent residence, you cannot issue a re-entry permit.
How to check the status of your re-entry permit application
To check your application status, you can check it by using the USCIS online case status checker. To check the status, you will require the receipt number you received from the notice after filing Form I-131.
When the time comes for receiving the re-entry permit from the US embassy, you can either contact the officials to check if they have received your permit or not. Also, you can check the status by using some of the online tools of embassies.
How do you use a re-entry permit?
- When you return to the United States after your long abroad trip, you must carry the re-entry permit with you along with your passport and green card. The officer at the Airport will check for the paper and ask some of the questions regarding your journey, and if everything seems fine, they will readmit you to the United States.
- A re-entry permit is the travel document that states to the CBP official that you have not abandoned your US residence. However, even if you have the re-entry permit, it does not assure you will get the right to re-enter the United States after the long abroad trip. If CBP officials detect any reason that states that you have abandoned your US residence, then there are changes in your further questioning at the time of entry.
I have an old reentry permit. Do I need to turn in my old permit if I am filing for a new one?
A reentry permit cannot be extended if you still wish to live outside the United States after the expiry of the reentry permit. You will need to apply for the new one. So yes, whenever you apply for a new reentry permit, you will require returning the old one and filing an application for the new one.
What will happen if I do not apply for a re-entry permit? Before I travel outside of the United States?
If you are presently a lawful permanent resident and planning a trip outside the United States for more than a year, you must apply for the reentry permit before leaving the United States. If you spent outside the United States more than a year without applying for a reentry permit, then CPB will consider you that you have abandoned your US permanent resident.
No, if you are not present physically in the United States, you cannot file a form I-131.