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Re-Entry Permits: Keeping your Green Card during Long Term Travels

Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) are allowed to travel outside of the U.S. and spend time in foreign countries whenever they please. However, a problem may arise when an LPR needs to travel outside of the U.S. for six months or more. Should an LPR need to reside outside of the U.S. for six months or more, they must consider acquiring a re-entry permit so as not to risk “abandoning” their LPR status. 

What is a re-entry permit?

A re-entry permit is a travel document that establishes that you do not want to abandon your LPR status but will be outside of the U.S. for over six months. A re-entry permit is typically valid for two years. However, after holding two re-entry permits, subsequent re-entry permits will only be valid for one year. 

How do you get a re-entry permit?

To receive a re-entry permit, an LPR must file their Form I-131, Application for Travel Document with USCIS. You should file this form well in advance of your expected travel dates to ensure it is approved. USCIS recommends filing Form I-131 no fewer than 60 days before your intended travel. You do not need a re-entry permit if you are traveling outside of the U.S. for less than six months. 

Where can I get a re-entry permit?

You must file Form I-131 while physically present in the U.S. You do not have to be in the U.S. for USCIS to approve your Form I-131, however. This would only be allowed if your biometrics (photo, fingerprints) have already been obtained. You must provide the required biometrics to USCIS at a designated Application Support Center (ASC) while in the U.S., and USCIS will notify you when to provide them. You can indicate on your Form I-131 that you would like to receive your re-entry permit at any U.S. Embassy, consulate, or DHS office overseas. 

Can I renew an old r-entry permit?

No, you cannot renew old re-entry permits, once they expire the only way to get a new permit is to perform the entire application process again.

If you are interested in applying for a re-entry permit or have questions on the process, be sure to contact Berardi Immigration Law today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys!