A reentry permit allows a lawful permanent resident to keep his or her green card while traveling abroad for extended periods of time. Learn more here.
Using a Re-Entry Permit in Texas
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has many strict rules and regulations that dictate the entry and exit of immigrants. One of them is the use of a re-entry permit.
This travel document allows green card holders to travel out of the country for two years while maintaining residency in the U.S. If you are a lawful permanent resident of the United States, it is essential that you obtain a reentry permit before leaving the country. This proves that the person intends to maintain their legal status in the U.S. while traveling outside the country.
The green card is valid without a re-entry permit for travel lasting less than one year. For travel lasting more than two years, there is a separate process you must complete before re-entering. If you intend to travel outside the United States, it is advisable to contact an immigration attorney to determine what documents you need to apply for.
Filing a Re-Entry Permit Application
To successfully maintain your green card, you must apply for a reentry permit. Although lawful permanent residents may travel freely outside the United States, they must demonstrate continuous residence in the country. A person out of the country for more than one year may have his or her green card revoked since it will be assumed that he or she is no longer a resident.
Assume that you have properly presented your travel document to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials. In that case, they will not consider your absence from the United States as proof that you are no longer a resident of the United States. However, if you did not apply for re-entry permits before leaving the U.S., or your time abroad was more than two years, you will not be able to obtain a permit. Instead, you will need an SB-1 visa before re-entering the United States.
How to Apply for a Reentry Permit in Texas
When planning an extended trip abroad, you may need the help of any private or government agency to find out how to apply for a reentry permit. You must file Form I-131 with the appropriate documentation. In it, you provide information about your U.S. tax returns, mailing address, details about your planned travel, and any foreign travel you have used after becoming a green card holder.
Since you will need to attend a biometric appointment, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) suggests that you submit your application no less than 60 days before you leave the country. If you leave the country before the biometric appointment, your application will likely be denied.
What Are the Re-Entry Permit Requirements?
Providing your re-entry permit requirements to CBP in an organized manner helps you, as a conditional resident who has traveled extensively in other countries, gain entry into the country. To be physically present in the U.S. after an extended absence, you must have your re-entry permit, passport and green card with you. Although the permit indicates your intent to return to the U.S., CBP will inspect all of your documents and ask follow-up questions to determine if you have abandoned your residence and need a new permit.
Immigration services are increasingly scrutinizing those who travel extensively outside the U.S. rather than maintaining their permanent residence. Therefore, it is advisable to have an experienced professional review your re-entry permit.
What Documents Do I Need to Submit for a Reentry Permit to Re-Enter the United States?
An immigration attorney can help you determine what documents you must submit to obtain a re-entry permit. Supporting travel documents may include the following:
- Permanent Resident Card
- Alien Identity Card
- U.S. driver’s license
Reentry permits are not guaranteed. The more accurately and completely you complete and submit your application, the more likely you will be granted reentry with permanent resident status.
How long will it take to process the reentry permit?
If you are a green card holder, you may be wondering how long it will take to process your reentry permit. Generally, USCIS takes between 90 days and seven months to decide whether to allow a person to reenter. Therefore, you should file your application at least 60 days before your expected departure date.
A Texas law firm can help explain how to obtain a reentry permit, so you don’t end up stranded.
How to Check the Status of My Reentry Permit
The right naturalization and citizenship attorney will offer information and advice on how to check the status of your re-entry permit, as will the U.S. embassy or consulate. Some have online tools that allow you to check your documentation to determine if it is ready for you to pick up. Use your Form I-131 receipt number and check the status of your application on the USCIS online case status checker.
Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate if you intend to pick up your reentry permit in person. You should contact them later to determine if they have received your permit.
Problems Without a Re-Entry Permit
If you do not have a re-entry permit or a returning resident visa, CBP is likely to question you strictly when you return to the United States. The questioning could be very strict, and you may also be fined a huge fee or attorney’s fees upon your return from your travels abroad.
In addition, if you have been out of the U.S. for a significant amount of time, CBP will recommend abandonment of your permanent resident status. The hassle could also result in many complex situations that could be avoided with a valid reentry permit.
How to Pay Reentry Permit Fees
To return to the U.S., you must pay re-entry permit fees. The method of payment is in person at a USCIS service center or lockbox, by check made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or by credit card using form G-1450.
How Much Does a Reentry Permit Cost in Texas?
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as well as your local law firm, can help you determine how much the re-entry permit costs. The filing fee for Form I-131 is $575. You must also pay a biometric fee of $85 if you are between the ages of 14 and 79. Please note; if you become a U.S. citizen, you can travel indefinitely without additional travel documents, which simplifies the process.
Permanent residents who have chosen to travel to another country must submit a re-entry permit application and supporting documents to maintain their resident status. If you have questions about the process or complications arise, it is advisable to visit a reputable Texas visa attorney such as Immigration Hero prior to your departure for advice and information.
How Do I Use a Re-Entry Permit?
When returning from extended trips abroad to the United States, you must have your re-entry permit, immigrant visa, green card and passport. Upon entering the United States, CBP officers will ask you questions about your travel, your purpose, and other formal questions. Upon questioning, if you provide everything in order, the process will be straightforward for you. However, if not, then you will be welcoming several complexities.
Can a Re-Entry Permit Be Extended?
It is not possible to extend your green card while you are outside the United States. If your green card is about to expire, you must return to the United States, file Form I-131 and be present at the biometric appointment. You must also provide your previous green card to the officials.
There is no official time limit for applying for reentry permission. However, if you are a green card holder and stay a significant amount of time outside the U.S., it will cause a hurdle in the process of obtaining a full green card. In some cases, the reentry permit is issued for up to two years.
For example, if you have spent four out of five years outside the U.S., then your reentry permit will hardly have a limit of more than one year. With a reentry permit, you can secure your immigration status. However, there are some exceptions for U.S. government employees, elite athletes, and a few other cases.
Is a Reentry Permit the Same as an Advance Parole?
Reentry permits and advance parole are different documents intended for different users. A re-entry permit is a mandatory document for U.S. permanent residents to re-enter the U.S. after an extended trip abroad. However, advance parole is intended for non-U.S. citizens as a temporary travel authorization document to re-enter the U.S. after short trips.
Can a Re-Entry Permit Be Denied?
Yes, an application for a re-entry permit form can be denied for certain reasons, which include
- You did not provide the correct documents.
- You forgot to pay the fee.
- You already have a valid re-entry permit.
These are the most common and possible reasons for denied applications.