A permanent resident alien returning to the United States from a visit abroad of less than a year may apply for readmission by presenting an Alien Registration Receipt Card “Green Card” (Form I-551) to the immigration authorities at a U.S. port of entry. A former immigrant who has lost U.S. resident status and desires to return to the United States must do so using a new immigrant visa based on either an approved immigrant petition or returning resident status.
- Option 1: A U.S. relative (spouse, parent, offspring or sibling) or U.S. employer may file an immigrant petition on behalf of the former immigrant. Information on the various types of immigrant and employment based petitions are contained elsewhere in this website.
- Option 2: The immigrant may apply for returning resident status. An application for returning resident status requires evidence of the applicant’s continuing, unbroken ties to the United States, evidence that the stay outside the United States was truly beyond the applicant’s control and evidence that the intent of the applicant was to always return to the United States.
You may apply for a returning resident status if:
- At the time of departure from the U.S., you were a lawful permanent resident;
- You left the U.S. with the goal of returning and have maintained this intention;
- If you are returning to the U.S. from a brief visit out of the country and your stay abroad was extended due to circumstances beyond your control;
- You are eligible for the immigrant visa in all other aspects.
Applicants who wish to apply for Returning Resident (SB-1) visas should contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy, Dhaka well in advance of their intended travel to permit sufficient time for visa processing.
In order to schedule an appointment for an interview, the SB-1 applicant must send an email requesting an interview date to firstname.lastname@example.org. The applicant also needs to scan and send all relevant documents that he/she wants to show to the consular officer on the day of the interview along with the email. Applicants must be interviewed in person at the embassy.
Requirements for Application for Returning Resident:
- Pay a fee of $180 for each petition filed.
- Complete Form DS-117 (PDF 56 KB) and Returning Resident Questionnaire (PDF 41 KB).
- Present evidence to support:
- Proof of lawful permanent residence, e.g., Form I-151, I-551, Reentry permit;
- Dates of travel outside the U.S., e.g., airline tickets, passport stamps;
- Proof of ties to the U.S. and intention to return, e.g., tax returns, and evidence of economic, family and social ties to the U.S.;
- Proof that your stay was extended due to circumstances beyond your control, e.g. medical incapacitation, employment with a U.S. company, accompanying a U.S. spouse
- Submit 1 (one) photograph
If the returning resident status is denied because you relinquished your residence in the U.S., it may or may not be possible for you to obtain a nonimmigrant visa. It would depend on whether you have established a residence abroad to which you will return. If you cannot submit persuasive evidence of ties abroad, you may have to apply for an immigrant visa on the same basis by which you immigrated originally.
Abandoning Legal Permanent Resident Status
If you remained outside the U.S. for more than twelve months or past the validity period of a reentry permit, and your legal permanent resident status has lapsed and you plan to travel to the U.S. as a non-immigrant you may do so by filing Form I-407, Abandonment of lawful Permanent Resident Status. Before a nonimmigrant visa is issued, you will most likely have to surrender your green card (form I-551)
Note: Individuals contemplating whether to submit an application for returning resident status should carefully evaluate whether their circumstances meet the criteria outlined above. The application fee is non-refundable and the evaluation process is quite rigorous. It is also worthy to consider that approval of returning resident status does not guarantee issuance of a visa.