A lawful permanent resident (LPR) or a conditional resident (CR) need an admission document like special immigrant visa (obtained at consulate abroad), green card or reentry permit to enter the U.S. after their temporary trip abroad. If the trip was more than one year since their departure from the U.S., only the green card may not be sufficient to allow them back into the U.S. The LPR or CR must apply for a reentry permit while they are physically present in the U.S. A reentry permit thus allows a LPR or CR to be admitted during the permit’s validity, without having to obtain a returning resident visa from a U.S. Embassy or consulate. Departure before the USCIS decides the application does not affect the validity of the document. Where biometric collection is required and the applicant departs the U.S. before the biometrics are collected, the application may be denied.
A reentry permit issued to an LPR is valid for two years from the date of issuance. However, if the applicant has been outside the U.S. for more than four of the last five years since becoming an LPR, the permit will be limited to one year.
A reentry permit issued to a CR shall be valid for two years from the date of issuance or to the date the CR must apply for removal of the conditions on his or her status, whichever dates comes first. A reentry permit may not be extended. Furthermore, a reentry permit may not be issued if the applicant has already has a valid permit, unless the prior document is returned was lost or a notice was published in the Federal Register that precludes the issuance of such a document for travel to the area where the applicant intends to go.
Possession of a reentry permit does not guarantee the alien’s readmission to the U.S. It also does not prevent the Port of Entry officials from inquiring as to whether the permit holder abandoned his permanent residency.
An LPR who is interested in applying for naturalization should note that applying for a reentry permit does not negate the effect of a lengthy absence on his/her ability to meet the requirement for naturalization.