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Re-Entry Permits for US Green Card Holders: Maintaining US Permanent Residence Status

Re-Entry Permits for US Green Card Holders

For those that have U.S. Permanent Residency (Green Card Holders) but are planning on leaving the United States for an extended period of time (over a six-month period), one should file for the I-131 Re-Entry permit. Those that have not filed and have been absent from the United States for a long duration, can risk having their Green Cards confiscated, or can be made to “give up” their Green Cards while attempting to re-enter the U.S. as they have “abandoned” their Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status.

How to apply for a US Re-Entry Permit

In order to apply for the I-131, one has to be physically within the U.S. when applying and should have a valid reason for leaving the U.S. Further, one should continue to maintain strong ties to the U.S. (which can come in a variety of different forms) as even with the I-131, there have been cases that an over-zealous officer has attempted to make the LPR give up their status. Cases such as these can be rectified slightly easier because of the I-131 but unfortunately, there are no guarantees.

If you are a LPR and are planning to leave the United States, it’s best to speak to an immigration attorney to discuss your specific situation. Further, if you are a Permanent Resident that has already left the U.S., and you have not abandoned your status, there are different options that can be explored in your case as well. From what we have seen, a struggling economy, brings about different and varied results from officers and immigration officials in general. Being proactive with any potential Green Card issues that can arise by applying for a US Re-Entry Permit will save you much grief rather than waiting for the unsettling to occur.

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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55 thoughts on “Re-Entry Permits for US Green Card Holders: Maintaining US Permanent Residence Status

  1. cyrus

    Hi

    I have GC but I left US 3 years ago without obtaining a re-entry so, Am I still able to go back to US?

    Reply
    1. Immigration Lawyer (rachel)

      Hi Cyrus,

      Thank you for contacting us at VisaPlace! We would have to take a closer look at your case to determine your eligibility to return to the US. Individuals who leave the US for over a year without applying for a re-entry permit often may be denied at the border. Hiring an immigration lawyer will help you get answers to all of your questions, plus it will increase the chance of getting a visa approved. Please, complete this form for me http://www.visaplace.com/immigration-assessment/ it is just a quick and easy way for me to learn more details about your situation so that I will be able to advise you accurately and determine the best avenue for us to take to give you the best legal advice.

      The above response is for informational purposes only and does not form a lawyer-client relationship nor should it be construed to be legal advice.

      Reply
  2. Abbas

    Hello.
    I am a green card holder and would like to visit Canada for a week. My country’s passport is however expired last year.
    I understand I can enter Canada by land or sea with my green card only.
    However, I don’t know what would I need to re-enter the US.

    Reply
    1. Immigration Lawyers

      Hi Abbas,

      Thank you for contacting us at VisaPlace! We would have to take a closer look at you and your case to determine if you need any other documents for re-entry to the US. Hiring an immigration lawyer will help you get answers to all of your questions, plus it will increase the chance of getting a visa approved. Please, complete this form for me http://www.visaplace.com/immigration-assessment/ it is just a quick and easy way for me to learn more details about your situation so that I will be able to advise you accurately and determine the best avenue for us to take to give you the best legal advice.

      The above response is for informational purposes only and does not form a lawyer-client relationship nor should it be construed to be legal advice.

      Reply
  3. Ramona Gal

    Hi! My name is Leiz.I arrived here in the US last month.My son and I got our green card after 3 weeks.My son is a special child,he’s having a hard time adjusting here in the US and wasnt able to have a therapy and he wanted to go back home.I wanted him to have all his needs especially the therapies etc there in the Philippines.As a mother i cannot work too because of him.I decided to bring him back home as i have lots of relatives there to take care of him.then i will come back to US to work.what am i going to do? I wanted to bring him back to Philippines so that he can have all the therapies.I dont want to lose his green card.pls help.pls advice god bless

    Reply
    1. Rachel

      Hi Leiz,

      Thank you for contacting us at VisaPlace! We would have to take a closer look at the details of your case to determine the eligibility of your son to keep his Green Card after returning to the Philippines. This may be easier if you are in the States, as you may plan to be. We would love to help by better understanding the specifics of your plan. Hiring an immigration lawyer will help you get answers to all of your questions, plus it will increase the chance of getting a visa approved. Please, complete this form for me http://www.visaplace.com/immigration-assessment/ it is just a quick and easy way for me to learn more details about your situation so that I will be able to advise you accurately and determine the best avenue for us to take to give you the best legal advice.

      The above response is for informational purposes only and does not form a lawyer-client relationship nor should it be construed to be legal advice.

      Reply
  4. Ann

    Hi my name is Ann I’m a green card holder in the US for 15 years and my green card will be expiring this month 24th but I’m leaving on the 22th because of the my annulment in the Philippines but I will come back in the US by August 25 2017 is there gonna have problem when I come back bcoz of my green card is expired already? I really need help here.

    Reply
  5. Maria Young

    Hello! I’m Mary. I’m here in the US and married to a US citizen. I got here April 2016 with my two children. In June 2016, my 11 year old son had to go back to the Philippines to continue his education. He is also green card holder. However, he was not able to get reentry permit and he is planning to come back here April 2017. Would he be permitted to enter the US if he comes back in April? His green card will be one year in June 2017. Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you and more power.

    Reply
    1. Immigration Lawyers

      Hello Maria,

      Thank you for your inquiry. I am really glad that you contacted us! Depending on your sons case, there may be a chance for us to restore his status here in the US. I am sorry to hear about the hardships that you faced here… We have consulted with many individuals, who also suffered emotionally as a result of not being able to fulfill their immigration wishes. Please Maria, complete this form for me http://www.visaplace.com/immigration-assessment/ it is just a quick and easy way for me to learn more details about you and your son’s situation so that I will be able to advise you accurately and determine the best avenue for us to take to get him status again here in America.

      The above response is for informational purposes only and does not form a lawyer-client relationship nor should it be construed to be legal advice.

      Reply
    2. Anonymous

      Hi i would like to ask how and where to ask a re-entry permit for my son who want to study in his home town which is the philippines? He will b travelling this coming september for the firstime as a immigrant visa

      Reply
      1. Immigration Lawyers

        To Whom it May Concern,

        Thank you for contacting us at VisaPlace! We would love to help your son obtain a re-entry permit. Hiring an immigration lawyer will help you get answers to all of your questions, plus it will increase the chance of getting a visa approved. Please, complete this form for me http://www.visaplace.com/immigration-assessment/ it is just a quick and easy way for me to learn more details about your situation so that I will be able to advise you accurately and determine the best avenue for us to take to give you the best legal advice.

        The above response is for informational purposes only and does not form a lawyer-client relationship nor should it be construed to be legal advice.

        Reply
  6. JHANVI PATEL

    My name is Jhanvi Patel. I am living in the Boston area after moving to the US with my family in 2013. We are not US citizens. I want to go back to India for 3 years to complete my Bachelors degree. But, I don’t want to loose my green card so what can i do? My parents wants me to come back to with in the six months while I’m Studying in India and going back after one month. Is that possible to maintain my green card?

    Reply
    1. Immigration Lawyers

      Hi Jhanvi,
      Thank you for your inquiry, I’m glad you contacted us! I can understand how frustrating it may be not knowing if you will lose your green card. I can assure you we can answer all of your immigration questions. Hiring an immigration lawyer will help you get answers to all of your questions plus it will also increase the chance for approval of the visa you are inquiring about. Please, complete this form for me http://www.visaplace.com/immigration-assessment/ it is just a quick and easy way for me to learn more details about you and your situation so that I will be able to advise you accurately and determine the best avenue for us to take to give you the best legal advice.

      The above response is for informational purposes only and does not form a lawyer-client relationship nor should it be construed to be legal advice.

      Reply
  7. Oget

    Hi. I went for a vacation here in Philippines last November 2016 and I just recently found out that my green card will be expiring on the end of this month March 2017. I might not be able to come back to US immediately before my green card expired. Would there be an issue of coming back to US if my green card has already expired even just a month? Would you know how long would it take to process the renewal of green card if I will do it outside the US? Thank you for your kind response.

    Reply
    1. Immigration Lawyers

      Hi Oget,
      Thank you for your inquiry, I’m glad you have contacted us! I can understand how knowing your green card will expire is very frustrating and stressful. We have helped thousands of clients in your situation where they need to renew their green card as soon as possible. Hiring an immigration lawyer will help get you all your legal questions, it will also increase your chance for visa approval. Please, complete this form for me http://www.visaplace.com/immigration-assessment/ it is just a quick and easy way for me to learn more details about you and your situation so that I will be able to advise you accurately and determine the best avenue for us to take to help you obtain a green card renewal and the best legal advice.

      The above response is for informational purposes only and does not form a lawyer-client relationship nor should it be construed to be legal advice.

      Reply
      1. Howell Dulay

        Hi,

        My son who is 16 yrs old and a green card holder went to PHL last July 19, 2017 and suppose to be Aug. 19. However he wanted to study there, can I file for I-131 even though he is not here in the US?

        Reply
        1. Immigration Lawyers

          Hi Howell,

          Thank you for contacting us at VisaPlace! I can understand how the laws and regulations regarding green cards can be quite confusing but don’t worry we have helped guide thousands of clients in the right direction. Hiring an immigration lawyer will help you get answers to all of your questions, plus it will increase the chance of getting a visa approved. Please, complete this form for me http://www.visaplace.com/immigration-assessment/ it is just a quick and easy way for me to learn more details about your situation so that I will be able to advise you accurately and determine the best avenue for us to take to give you the best legal advice.

          The above response is for informational purposes only and does not form a lawyer-client relationship nor should it be construed to be legal advice.

          Reply
  8. Joseph

    i have a greencard of the united states.i have been in india for studies and i have a reentry permit with 6 months of validity left in it.But the problem is that my greencard expires in about a month.So can i stay after the xpiry period of the greencard because i have reentry permit.thanks in advance

    Reply
    1. Muga Rajbhandari

      Hello Joseph. You may have a re-entry problem once your greencard expires. You will also probably be asked to renounce your greencard. We will need to know more about the details of your situation. I am going to suggest that you contact us to make an appointment to talk with one of our immigration professionals who will be able to plan the best strategy for you. You can book an appointment by calling us at 1-416-410-7484 or online at http://goo.gl/JFZqPm
      Regards, Muga

      Reply
  9. hari

    hello- i have been resraching how to maintain ties to the US for a green card holder etc … can i please ask the following
    I have read that if a US Owned corporation sent you abroad to work then this would be Ok??
    If i as a soon to be Green Card holder formed a S Corp in USA and then was bavk here in the UK to conduct business for a while would this be Ok ? or would i setill need to apply for re-entry permits?
    thanks

    Reply
    1. Muga Rajbhandari

      Hello Hari. We will need to know more about the details of your situation. I am going to suggest that you contact us to make an appointment to talk with one of our immigration professionals who will be able to plan the best strategy for you. You can book an appointment by calling us at 1-416-410-7484 or online at http://goo.gl/JFZqPm
      Regards, Muga

      Reply
  10. David

    Hi there

    I received my LPR and my two kids as well. Problem is my wife doesn’t have a LPR. So I had filed an application I-130 and she lives in Canada. Her priority date is march 2016z. I had applied for re-entry permits for myself and my kids for my wife couldn’t bare to live by herself. My kids and I attended our biometrics appointment. Then shortly after I had moved my kids there before I had received our re-entry permits though and I remained working in the USA. But now I had moved to Canada for it was the best move and our family’s content while we wait for my wife to attain her visa. Now my question is will my kids and I have any problems re-entering the USA? Also I had spoken to USCIS and cbp regarding our situation and they had advised me that what I was doing was the best possible route.

    Reply
    1. Muga Rajbhandari

      Hello David. Thank you for writing to us. I am going to suggest that you contact us to make an appointment to talk with one of our immigration professionals who specializes in U.S. and Canadian immigration. They will be able to plan the best strategy for you. You can book an appointment by calling us at 1-416-410-7484 or online at http://goo.gl/JFZqPm
      Regards, Muga

      Reply
  11. Eri

    Hi. I just want to ask. I studied college in the Philippines. But I have re entry permit. Every other year I go back to US to renew my permit. I stayed three years in the US before I decided to study in the Philippines. Then now I’m in US for good. Can I get my citizenship after two years? Since I stayed for three years in US before I studied

    Reply
    1. Muga Rajbhandari

      Hello Eri. The rules for citizenship are very strict and complex. We would need to know the exact times that you were in the US and what you were doing. I am going to suggest that you contact us to make an appointment to talk with one of our immigration professionals who will be able to plan the best strategy for you. You can book an appointment by calling us at 1-855-886-8472 or online at http://goo.gl/JFZqPm
      Regards, Muga

      Reply
  12. Sankalp

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    Please help me in re entry in usa as our reentry permit expired in July 2014.We got it in July 2012 when we were in usa on an immigration visa.We are also gc and ssn holder. Since July 2014 we did not renewed our re entry permit. We have bank account in us bank. Now we plan to go back to usa in may 2016.What is the way? How to move? We have our relatives in us.
    We shall pay your fees if you help us to re enter in usa.
    Regards
    Sankalp
    India

    Reply
    1. Vahe Mirzoyan

      Hello Sankalp. Thank you for writing to us. In order to provide you with the proper information for your US immigration situation, we would need to know a lot more about your situation and status. I am going to suggest that you contact us to make an appointment to talk with one of our immigration professionals who will be able to plan the best strategy for you. You can book an appointment by calling us at 1-855-886-8472 or online at http://goo.gl/JFZqPm
      Regards, Vahe

      Reply
  13. Rakesh patel

    I have opt aimed green card for the u.s, in july2015,and there after applied for my extension for reentry permit for the same , as I have business back in india ,I have travelled back to india,just received my re entry permit book for the same ,but my birth date is wrongly mis printed,pls advice how can get this error rectified,and will be charged for the same.

    Reply
  14. Phillip

    Hello Sir Good day! Here’s my travel history :

    New YoRk U.S.A

    Green card received : March 18,2005

    Date exit U.S.A : June 12, 2007
    Date returned : January 16, 2008

    Date exit U.S.A : June 14, 2009
    Date returned : June 1 ,2011

    Date exit U.S.A : Dec 2, 2012
    Date returned : Dec 10, 2014

    With re entry permit approved
    Reason: studying

    I just want to inquire if Am I eligible to apply for citizenship?
    Or any advice you can give me?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. owen

      Hello Phillip,

      Thanks for the question. If you have been a permanent resident and resided continuously in the US for the past 5 years. It appears that you would not be able to naturalize through the N-400 process at the moment because you were not in the US for the past 2 years which disrupted you continuous physical presence requirement. Please let us know if you have any further questions and we would be happy to help you.

      Regards,
      Owen

      Reply
  15. Phillip

    Hi sir…im a U.S immigrant…i would like to ask if having re entry permit can still continuos his residency in order to apply for american citizenship? Cause im planning to go back home to study…

    Reply
    1. owen

      Hello Phillip,

      A re-entry permit should allow you to re-enter the US and resume the ‘clock’ for physical presence in the US. You have to be very careful with leaving the US for long periods of time though, and so it would be best to get in contact with us to ensure that you don’t run into any problems. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

      Regards,
      Owen

      Reply
  16. Angela

    I just want to ask. Iam a greencard holder and wants to study in the philippines, what will i do to stay outside the US for 5 yrs which will be the range of my studying in college? Pls help. Thank you

    Reply
    1. Michael Niren Post author

      Hello Angela

      If you study outside the US for 5 years you would require a Re-Entry Permit. You can apply for one but you have to be within the US to do so. You have to show that despite that you are not in the US for a long time you have not abandoned your status in the US.
      You can contact us for assistance with this application.
      Best
      Michael

      Reply
      1. Rizza Sanchez

        Hello!
        We have the same situation too. I am here at Anchorage, AK for almost seven months and I am a greencard holder. I’m planning to study at the Philippines for atleast 4 years and go back here at US. I have search many options and what I found out is that, you need a re-entry permit. I am inquiring with others too and what they know (they are not sure) is that you need to go back here, EVERY YEAR? Is that true? Because I really need to study there. It’s cheaper. 😀 But I will go back here too. I really do need your help! Thankyou very much!!! I am so grateful.

        Reply
  17. anita

    I am a U.S. Greencard holder and was outside of the U.S. for more than 3 years.

    I am planning to return to the US just for a visit. If the immigration officer takes away my Green Card, can I at least enter for a short period of time to clear my personal belongings in the U.S.? Please help.

    Reply
    1. Alicia Kim

      Dear Anita,

      If you were away from the U.S. for more than three years, it is likely that you will be considered to have abandoned your permanent resident status in the U.S. You should have applied for a Re-entry Permit prior to your departure.

      If your entry is refused and you need to enter into the U.S. to wind down your personal affairs in the U.S., depending on your country of nationality, you may have to apply for a U.S. Visitor Visa to temporarily enter the U.S. Or, you may also qualify for a Returning Resident Visa provided that you meet certain conditions.

      Hope this helps.

      Reply
  18. sinisa

    Hi,

    My name is Sinisa Novakovic. I got my Green Card, but left the U.S. on July 31, 2005. I have not been back since. My card expires in 2012. Can I re-enter the U.S.?

    Reply
    1. Alicia Kim

      Dear Sinisa,

      Normally, if your travel duration is greater than one year, you should apply for a re-entry permit before your departure. Otherwise, it could be determined that you have abandoned your resident status.

      Since you stated that you departed in 2005 and have not been back since 2005, it’s likely that you will experience trouble re-entering the U.S. I recommend that you consult with a qualified immigration lawyer with more detailed information in order to better assess what your options are.

      Thank you.

      Reply
  19. Dr. Deenabandhu Veligandla

    I am a Green card holder with a re-entry permit valid till June 25, 2011. I am staying in India right now I wish to maitain my U.S. PR status but may not be able to re-enter within the date mentioned above due to my health conditions.

    Should I ask for an extension of my re-entry permit?

    Reply
    1. Alicia Kim

      Dear Dr. Deenanbandhu Veligandla,

      In your case, you may be eligible to apply at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa. Among other things, you would have to show that you departed from the U.S. with the intention of returning and have not abandoned this intention and your protracted stay was caused by reasons beyond your control. You would also have to show proof of your ties to the U.S. and your intention to return.

      Since approval of this application is highly discretionary, I suggest that you contact an immigration lawyer to prepare a strong application package for you.

      Thank you.

      Reply
  20. RAO

    I am a Green card holder in the U.S. and have been filing my IT returns. A large share of my work life has been in International marketing, promiting the U.S. companies in the Asian markets. This usually has involved frequent business travels in and out of the U.S. for an extended period, but never more than for 6-9 months in any year.
    But, now I want to go for 18 months. What should I do?

    Reply
    1. Alicia Kim

      Dear RAO,

      If your trip duration is going to be greater than one year (but less than two years), a re-entry permit is required. If not, you may be determined that you abandoned your resident status.

      Thank you.

      Reply
  21. Kevin de Guzman

    Hi,

    I’m kevin de Guzman from the Philippines.
    I had my Green Card last year. I had to leave for the Philippines to continue my education there. I tried to apply for a Re-entry permit without success and I got a letter from immigration stating that my re-entry has been abandoned.

    I have to go back to the Phillippines again soon, but want to keep my Green Card valid at the same time. What do I do?

    Thank you.

    Kevin

    Reply
    1. Alicia Kim

      Dear Kevin,

      It’s not clear from the fact whether your re-entry or your Green Card has been abandoned.

      However, it seems that you may have to apply for a SB-1 “Returning Resident” visa. This visa is required when you are an LPR unable to return to the U.S. within the travel validity period of the green card (1 year) or the validity of the Re-entry Permit (2 years). You may be eligible and can apply at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa.

      However, I would suggest that you discuss your situation in more detail with a qualified immigration lawyer as this might be a fairly complicated process loaded with documents and forms.

      Thank you.

      Reply
  22. Kiran

    Hi,

    How do I maintain my U.S. Greean Card? Can I maintain my U.S. Green Card even if I travel very frequently?

    Reply
    1. Alicia Kim

      Dear Kiran,

      If your trip duration is greater than one year, but less than two years, a re-entry permit is needed to enter the U.S. You have to be physically present when filing this application.

      Thank you.

      Reply
  23. Vato

    Hello,

    My wife, my three sons and I are Green Card holders since February, 2010. In August, 2010, we sent our two sons to their grandmother in my home country because we could not take care of them at that time. We are planning to have them stay with their grandmother for more than one year outside the U.S.

    Do they need Re-Entry Perrmits? We don’t want to lose our Greed Cards. What do we do?

    Thanks in advance.

    Vato

    Reply
    1. Alicia Kim

      Dear Vato,

      Because they have failed to apply for Re-entry Permit before leaving the U.S. and are planning to stay outside the U.S. for more than a year, they may be considered to have abandoned your permanent resident status.

      Under these circumstances, I suggest that you contact a qualified immigration lawyer to disucss your specific situation as there might be different options available for you at this point.

      Hope this helps.

      Reply
  24. Amran

    My name is H. M. AMRAN of Bangladesh. I obtained my Green Card. However, I left the U.S. on April 28, 2008 and have not been back since. Can I re-enter the U.S. with no problem?

    Reply
    1. Alicia Kim

      Dear Amran,

      The Green Card Holders are advised to apply for the I-131 Re-Entry permit before leaving the U.S. for more than a six month period. If you have not filed the I-131 before you left, you may be asked to give up your Green Cards. I suggest that you consult with a qualified immigration lawyer to get legal advise on what you can do at this point.

      Hope this helps.

      Reply
  25. Steven

    I have left the US for Canada for almost 9 year. What’s the best way to renew my US LPR which is expiring by end of this year?

    Reply
    1. Michael Niren

      If you have a US Green Card that has not expired, you can re-enter the US, wait one year and apply for a renewal for the Green Card. The challenge is however, to return to the US after all these eyars of absence. A USCIS officer could deem your PR status to be abandoned.

      Reply
  26. ahmed

    My name is Ahmed and I am studying in Seattle on a student visa. Also my wife has a student visa. We have a son born in the US. My question is can I get a green card?

    Reply
    1. Michael Niren

      Hello. If you are thinking that you are eligible for a Green Card based on your son’s birth in the US, this is not the case until he turns 21 after which he can sponsor you and your wife. However, in the mean time, there are other paths to a Green Card. Check out our website at http://www.VisaPlace.com for details.

      Reply

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