Lawful or conditional permanent residents who want to remain outside of the United States for more than one year (but less than two years) may apply for a re-entry permit. There are two different functions of a re-entry permit:
First, it allows a U.S. permanent resident to reenter the country after traveling for more than one year. Typically, a permanent resident who travels abroad for longer than one year will risk being denied entry into the U.S. on the grounds of abandonment of permanent resident status. A re-entry permit was created to help solve this problem for qualified travelers who continue to be permanent residents of the United States.
Second, the re-entry permit can function as a passport for a U.S. permanent resident if that person does not possess a current passport and is unable to obtain a passport from their home country.
Some of my clients ask what the difference is between a re-entry permit and advanced parole. Advanced parole is issued to applicants who want to travel while waiting for adjudication of their adjustment of status, while a re-entry permit is for individuals who are already permanent residents and want to travel outside the U.S. for extended periods of time. An advanced parole is printed on a sheet of piece of paper along with the applicant’s photo. A re-entry permit resembles a passport. An advance parole operates like a visa, while a re-entry permit functions more like a passport.
Q: Who is eligible for a re-entry Permit?
A: Aliens in the United States are eligible for a re-entry permit if they are permanent residents or conditional permanent residents of the U.S.
Q: How does one obtain a Re-entry Permit?
A: Please consult with an immigration attorney. If you would like to learn more information about Re-entry Permits, please feel free to contact us.
Q: Does a Re-entry Permit guarantee admission into the United States?
A: No, a Re-entry Permit like a U.S. Green Card does not guarantee admission into the United States. Aliens who are permanent residents and have obtained a Re-entry Permit are still subject to the USCIS inspection process at the port of entry. Usually, aliens with Re-entry Permit may be allowed to enter into the U.S. as long as his/her Re-entry Permit is valid.
Q: How long does it take to get a Re-entry Permit?
A: It usually takes about three months for the USCIS to process a Re-entry Permit application.
Q: What is the valid duration of a Re-entry Permit?
A: Generally, it is two years. However, if a permanent resident of the U.S. has been abroad for accumulative four years within the past five years, the USCIS may at its discretion, approve a Re-entry Permit with only one year valid duration. Within its valid duration, a permanent resident of the U.S. may make multiple entries into the U.S. by using a Re-entry Permit.
Q: Where should I apply for a Re-entry Permit?
A: You need to file your application by mail at the USCIS Nebraska Center.
Please note that an absence of more than one year from the U.S. will sever the 5-year continuous residence period requirement necessary to become a citizen, even if a re-entry permit is obtained.