If you have green card (permanent resident) status in the United States, beware: Traveling outside the country can jeopardize your immigration status. You can reduce this risk by obtaining a re-entry permit before leaving the United States.
What Is a Re-Entry Permit?
A re-entry permit allows green card holders who leave the United States for a year or more to re-enter the country without having to apply for a returning resident visa.
For How Long Is a Re-Entry Permit Valid?
A re-entry permit is valid for 2 years.
Does a Re-Entry Permit Guarantee My Re-Entry?
No. You will still be subject to an immigration interview upon your return to the United States.
How Can I Apply for a Re-Entry Permit?
You will need to complete Form I-131, which is available from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
When Should I Apply for a Re-Entry Permit?
You need to apply for a re-entry permit before leaving the United States, though you do not have to wait for approval before leaving the country. Apply as early as possible: If your application for a re-entry permit is denied and you are already out of the country, you will experience additional difficulties in trying to return to the United States.
Article Written By Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen lives in Chicago and began writing professionally in 1989. She covers careers, consumer issues and business for several online publications. Petersen holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Illinois State University and a Master of Library and Information Science degree from Dominican University.