How can you get a Reentry Permit to the United States?

If you had a legal status and wish to return to the United States, this article is for you.

Most foreign citizens who live in the United States see their Green Cards as a dream come true, and being able to visit their home countries every now and then is also a source of happiness. As a matter of fact, that is one of the greatest advantages of having lawful permanent residency. However, it is very important that you keep in mind the amount of time you are allowed to be abroad before this has any consequences on your resident status. For instance, if you are planning to visit your family abroad for over a year, the best thing you can do is to request a Reentry Permit.

What do you need to do to get a Reentry Permit to the United States? Who is entitled to get one? What are the consequences staying abroad for over one year and then returning without this permit? Can someone who exceeds this time limit lose his permanent residency? Actually, yes. It is possible to lose your lawful resident status, and the consequence range from being denied entry to getting deported to your country of origin.

If you are one of those people who is interested in applying for a Reentry Permit, you must know that the process has to be made through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You should not wait until the last minute to start your application, the best thing you can do is to do it ahead of time so your document is ready before you leave the country.

Since the United States is made up of immigrants from all around the world, it is a not unusual that people come and go on a regular basis. After all, we are talking about an immigrant community of about 48 million people, according to data published by the United Nations is 2015. This is why a Reentry Permit is a great opportunity for some of those immigrant who are now in possession of lawful permanent residency.

How can you find out if you need a reentry permit?

Traveling is a fascinating idea for most people, but it is a particularly emotional experience for immigrants who return to their countries of origin and reunite with their beloved family . We know that this is a trip that most people really look forward to, and if you want everything to work out without just fine and not encounter any problems on the way, you need to plan carefully so you do not overstay your time overseas.

First of all, you must consider how long your trip abroad will take. Those who have a Green Card can leave form about a year and then return without any problems. However, those who exceed that time limit must ask USCIS for an authorization to return.

This is the criteria for those who require a Reentry Permit to the United States:

  • You must have a valid Green Card which is granted to foreign citizens through any of the usual paths: family, work, political asylum, etc.
  • Or you must have Conditional Permanent Residency, which is granted for 2 years.
  • You must have been in a foreign country for over one year, or for over six months twice for two consecutive years. 

It is worth to highlight that this Reentry Permit will only be granted to those who have a lawful status in the United States. Undocumented people cannot apply. However, there are some exceptions for those who may have at their disposal benefits that may guarantee their exit from American territory. The thing is that if if you have been in the country illegally, this will hurt your chances of obtaining other immigration benefits.

What does a Reentry Permit do?

A Reentry Permit establishes that you do not wish to leave the United States permanently and does not want to lose his status of Permanent Resident. This permit works as an assurance that you can stay in another country without the need of having to apply for an immigrant visa again. Likewise, if a person leaves the country and he is no able to get a passport in that country, he can also benefit from a Reentry Permit.

It is very important that you make sure that a Reentry Permit will be accepted as a valid document by the authorities of the country you are going to before you go on your trip.

Probably one of the most awaited moments in your life as an immigrant is when you finally become a lawful permanent resident. That is why it is very important to take advantage of that opportunity and reap its benefits. That is why if you wish to travel abroad for over a year, it is very important that you obtain a Reentry Permit before you return, otherwise you will have to apply for a new visa in order to return.

This return visa is called SB-1 Visa and the requirements are:

  • The consular officer must approve the application after the corresponding interview.
  • A valid passport.
  • You must meet all the requirements for an Immigrant Visa. 
  • Criminal record.
  • Original birth certificate.

What do you need to do if you want to travel abroad?

A foreign citizen who has legal status in the United States should be able to travel anywhere in the world without any inconveniences. The only thing they need is a passport and a visa of the country they are going to when necessary.

Things change when what happens is that your trip ends and you need to return to the United States because you need to take into account the reentry time limit. The requirements range from having valid Lawful Permanent Residency, a valid passport and license, or other kind of ID. The immigration agent at the US port of entry might ask you for these documents .

It is well worth mentioning the fact that if you stay in a foreign country for some time does not necessarily mean that you will lose your legal permanent resident status, especially if the trip lasts less than 1 year. You might have some problems when you overstay your time abroad, or when the US Immigration authorities determine that you can no longer keep your lawful permanent resident status.

The authorities can consider different documents to determine whether you can be remain as a lawful permanent resident depending on your income tax reports, work stability, bank accounts, and others. The Immigration official must prove that you do not intend to leave the country permanently, and you wish to keep your status as a lawful permanent resident. This will help you to back up your claim that your trip abroad is temporary.

What are the requirements? 

If you want to apply for a Reentry Permit to the United States, you will need to meet with all the requirements for the I-131 Form, which corresponds with your traveling document. The process will be made via the USCIS website.

You must be careful because it is of paramount importance that your Reentry Permit has already been approved in order to obtain your Traveling Document, which is crucial since this permit will help you to prove how long you will be abroad.

The applicant must provide truthful information in the form (information such as full name, date of birth, address in the United States). You must pay a fee for processing all the information, so you will need to know your case very well so that you know exactly how much you need to pay.

USCIS has set the following fees: 575 USD (for children younger than 13), 660 USD (for people from between 14-79 years), and 575 USD (for people 80 years or older). You can pay 575 USD in all cases if you make the entire process beforehand. For refugees, fees are lower: within 105-220 USD in order to get a Refugee Travel Document.

If you have a Travel Document, it is also very useful in case you lose your Reentry Permit during your trip, since this document will help you to prove you identity overseas, and it will guarantee you the right to board your plane without any problems.

How can you protect your Green Card?

Generally speaking, immigrants value their legal status very much. When people do not know about the law in the country, it is more likely that they will get themselves in situations that lead to losing their permanent residency. One of those, of course, is traveling abroad for over a year and not applying for a Reentry Permit.

Another mistake that people often make is not renewing their Green Cards. Carrying an expired Green Card is considered to be a misdemeanor (although this is rarely enforced by the authorities) which can sometimes affect you job perspectives. You might not lose your resident status but it is better to avoid any issued with the authorities.

Likewise, it is a very important requirement that you are up to date with your income taxes. Evading taxes is a big deal in the United States and this can be a reason for you to lose your Permanent Resident status.

When you are trying to start an immigration process, it is really important that you know how to do it well. The best thing to do would be to hire a competent Immigration Attorney to help you with all of your paperwork in the most efficient way and who will also help you avoid any issued that could arise.

Reentry Permit Today

During the Trump Administration, we have witnessed a wave of negative decisions that have affected in a negative the status of immigrants. One of the most evident ways we can see this is in how demanding USCIS has become in regards to the documentation they require to grant immigration benefits. As a matter of fact, every few months we see a new policy designed to weaken the position of immigrants in American soil.

Nothing has been left untouched: Work Permits, Government Aid Programs, Asylum, restrictions to the Visa Lottery Program, and in October last year, the Reentry Permit as well.

USCIS announced that it will be issuing a new Reentry Permit document. The goal is apparently to “reduce the amount of fake permits”.

Permanent Residents and refugees alike will need to carry this document. This policy does not apply for those who already have an old permit, until that permit expires. The new documents have been granted since October to those who have requested the Reentry Permit to USCIS.

 

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