Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) may have questions about travel outside of the United States and how to obtain a reentry permit through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) department.
Once an LPR leaves the United States and is absent for one year or more, his or her permanent resident card becomes invalid to reenter the United States. The LPR’s permanent residence may also be considered abandoned if he or she resides in another country.
A reentry permit is usually valid for two years after it is issued. It allows an LPR to apply for admission to the United States after traveling abroad. It also does not require an LPR to obtain a returning resident visa.
Some countries allow an LPR to use a reentry permit like a passport and/or a main travel document, however this depends on the requirements of the country the LPR is visiting.
Reentry permits can be obtained by filing an application for travel document, also known as a Form I-131. The permit request must be filed while the LPR is physically present in the United States and should be filed at least 60 days before the LPR intends to travel abroad.
The application process may include photos, fingerprints or other biometric information. The biometrics must also be submitted while the LPR is in the United States.
Once the reentry permit is expired, the LPR will need to send it in when he or she applies for a new one. If the LPR already has a valid reentry permit in his or her possession, USCIS will not issue another one.
Travel and reentry permits are specific to the individual’s circumstances. An experienced attorney can provide guidance and answer questions about this process.