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Reentry Permit Application Instructions

  • Reentry Permit Application Guide
  • Reentry Permit Application Guide
  • Reentry Permit Application Guide
Download information package with instructions to access and file reentry permit application forms.


Reentry Permit

United States Reentry Permit or Travel Document Application Information for Green Card Holders

Format: Instant Download

Overview of the Application Process for a Reentry Permit:

  Procedure Name: Reentry Permit Application for U.S. Green Card Holders, application form I-131. The reentry permit is also called a Travel Document.
  Purpose: The reentry permit allows green card holders to travel out of the U.S. for extended time while maintaining their legal permanent resident status (green card status) valid. Another reason to apply for a reentry permit is to use it as a travel document, instead of a passport from your home country. Many countries throughout the world may allow a traveler to use a reentry permit as a travel document instead of a passport.
  Eligible Applicants: U.S. Legal Permanent Resident Card Holders (Green Card holders) who are physically present in the U.S. and wish to travel abroad for an extended period of time.
  Validity/Expiration: Reentry Permits are usually valid for two years from the date of issuance. However in some cases when a green card holder has been outside of the U.S. for a total of more than four years, in recent years, then the reentry permit is issued for only one year. Order this information package to learn more about reentry permit validity period and issuance.
  Extension/Renewal: It is not possible to renew a reentry permit; however it is possible to apply new reentry permits upon expiration of the previous reentry permits being able to stay abroad for several years. However the application process has to be started every time while physically present in the U.S.
  Where to Apply: The application must be started while the applicant is physically present inside the U.S. before traveling abroad, however the applicant can travel abroad before the application process is completed. Applicants must go to a biometric appointment at a USCIS service center before traveling abroad. Applicants may request to have the USCIS send their approved reentry permit to a U.S. consulate, Embassy, or to a DHS office abroad. Order this guide to learn more details about the application process and to learn how to start your reentry permit application.
  Travel without a Reentry Permit: It is important to apply for a re-entry permit before leaving the U.S. in order to avoid having your resident immigration status removed. Not being able to prove your temporary stay abroad may result in losing your green card.  However in some cases if you have been abroad for extended period of time without a reentry permit it is possible to apply for an SB-1 returning resident visa for green card holders coming back to the U.S. Order this guide to learn how to apply for an SB-1 Visa while abroad.
ok How to Apply: Order and download this information guide online now to learn how to apply for a United States reentry permit to live temporarily abroad.

Do not let your Green Card expire abroad and do not lose your U.S. legal permanent resident status. Learn how to follow all immigration procedures and requirements to stay in compliance with your U.S. resident status.

US Immigration has two main categories of visas: immigrant visas and non-immigrant visas.  Non-immigrant visas are given to visitors that are allowed to travel to the US and stay temporarily, like the F-1 visa for students that plan to go back to their home country after finishing their studies in the U.S., or like the B-1/B-2 visa for business and tourist visitors, among many other types of non-immigrant visas. The other type of visas, immigrant visas gives you the right to live and work in the U.S. permanently and receive a green card. The immigrant visa, Green Card or US Permanent Resident Card, is only given to immigrants that live or are planning to live in the United States permanently. Green Cards are not supposed to be for people that want to live in a country outside of the U.S. and just come to the U.S. temporarily.

Learn How to Apply for a Reentry Permit to Live Temporarily Outside of the U.S. with a Valid Green Card During Extended Travel Times

Important: You may lose your green card if travel out of the U.S. for 1 year or more without applying for a Reentry Permit. As a green card holder you may travel abroad multiple times and re-enter the US, as long as you do not intend to stay abroad for 1 year or more, however if you stay out of the U.S. for more than 6 months may already cause suspicious of your intent to abandon your residency.  Your travel out of the U.S. must be temporary and you must be able to prove that you didn’t intend to abandon your Legal Permanent Residence. If a green card holder stay outside of the U.S. for 1 year or more or if the immigration officer believes that a green card holder is living out of the U.S. permanently then the green card holder may be found inadmissible and denied reentry into the U.S.  Exceptions apply for people temporarily living abroad because they or their immediate relatives work with the United States armed forces abroad, or are civilian employees of the U.S. Government stationed out of the country due to official orders. In those type of cases, the spouse or child of the government or armed forces employee must not have relinquished residence, and be preceding or accompanying the member or employee, or be following to join the member or employee in the USA within a few months of his return to the country.

Re-entry Permit Application

If a non-citizen U.S. resident holding a green card needs to be out of the country for a long period of time it is recommended to apply for a re-entry permit, before leaving the U.S., to avoid having your immigration status as a resident removed. Not being able to prove your temporary stay abroad may result in losing your green card. Order this guide to learn how to apply for a reentry permit to live temporarily stay abroad. The reentry permit is also called a Travel Document and it allows green card holders to travel out of the U.S. for extended time and keep a Green Card or Resident Status valid.

It is important to understand the difference between the green card itself, and the status as a permanent resident.  Even if you have a valid card you might be considered out of status, for example in the case that you abandoned your residence in the United States and moved away to another country abroad; also the opposite may happen, having an expired green card but still having a valid status as a legal resident of the U.S. however it is important to keep your green card valid non-expired as proof of your current and valid resident status.

Every year many Green Card holders decide to live out of the U.S. temporarily due to personal, business or employment reasons, and some of them just leave the country and move out of the US believing that their resident status will be valid indefinitely, but when coming back to enter the US they are asked to give up their green card by the immigration officer at the port of entry to the United States. These individuals may lose their resident status or green card, and when wanting to travel to the U.S., they would have to obtain a non-immigrant visitor visa.  If in the future they want to live again in the U.S., they will have to go again over the complicated process of applying again for a new green card, in some cases the condition that helped them to apply for a green card won't be valid anymore, so they won't be eligible to apply for a new green card. However this difficult situation can be avoided in most cases if the green card holder intend to come back to live in the U.S. in the future, there is special immigration permit that can be obtained to live out of the US temporarily and keep a green card or resident status valid, it is called the reentry permit and is usually valid for a maximum of two years. The green card holder may apply for a new reentry permit after the current permit expires.  Several green card holders are not aware of this immigration re-entry permit or aware of the fact that they will lose their green card if moving out of the U.S. and end up losing their green card or resident status permanently.

This page can be found at: https://www.immigrationunitedstates.org/products/reentry-permit.html

How to Apply for a Reentry Permit?

Order this immigration guide to learn how to apply for a reentry permit, how to obtain immigration application forms, instructions, and more information about how to live temporarily abroad without losing a U.S. resident status.  It is very important to take into consideration that to apply for a reentry permit you need to be physically present inside the United States. You can not obtain a re-entry permit abroad. US embassies or consulates don't issue reentry permits. Reentry permits are only available for green card holders with the intention to go back to live in the U.S. before the expiration of their reentry permit.

FAQ Frequently Asked Questions answered and application information about travel documents included in this immigration guide:

  • I am a Green Card Holder and need to travel abroad. For how long can I travel outside of the U.S. and still keep my permanent resident status valid?
  • What is a Reentry Permit?
  • For how long is a Reentry Permit valid?
  • How to apply for a Reentry Permit? What form to submit when applying for a reentry permit?
  • How do I change the registered address on my green card?
  • How to change my notification address for pending applications with the USCIS?
  • What is the biometrics and fingerprint requirement for a reentry permit?
  • Can I file my Reentry Permit application from outside of the U.S.? Can I submit my biometrics while I am outside of the U.S.?
  • Can I travel outside of the United States while my Reentry Permit application is still pending approval?
  • Can I renew my expiring Reentry Permit, or can apply for a new one?
  • What would happen if I do not apply for a Reentry Permit before leaving the United States during an extended period of time?
  • How to apply for an SB-1 returning visa for green card holders coming back to the U.S.?
  • How to prove that I intend to comeback to live in the U.S.?
  • Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes while living temporarily abroad
  • Reentry Permit application processing time 
  • Contact information and list of U.S. embassies and consulates abroad
  • USCIS contact information and forms
  • Helpful immigration related information
  • Reentry Permit Application forms and instructions

Green Card and Reentry Permit Application Related Forms

Order this Information Package to learn how to access and how to apply using the following application forms related to Green Cards and to the Reentry Permit for U.S. Green Card Holders:

  • Application Form for Travel Document (Reentry permit)
  • Instructions for Application Form for Travel Document (Reentry Permit)
  • e-Notification Form for Application/Petition Acceptance
  • Change of Address Form for Green Card holders
  • Online Change of Address Form for Green Card holders
  • Application Form to Determine Returning Resident Status (SB-1 Visa)
  • Application Form for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration

Order this Information Guide to learn more about the application process for a Reentry Permit and to have access to Answers to Frequently Asked Immigration Questions including application information and instructions for reentry permit immigration forms.

Other Details

Instructions to start reentry application and to access reentry permit application forms online.

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