My Green Card
has been approved. How long will it be valid? What do i have to do to renew
Residency cards are currently issued for 10 years, unless it's based on
conditional residence (marriages which do not exist for two years prior to
approval). Currently, renewals are made in person at the local BCIS office;
this policy is based upon new BCIS reorganization.
What happens to my green
card if I go abroad for an extended period?
If you will be out of the
country for less than 180 days then you should have no problem with re-entry and your Green Card alone should get you across the border.
If you will be out of the
country for more than 180 days but less than a year, you can use your
Green Card to enter without a re entry permit, however, always use
caution when embarking on such extended stays as your intent may be
questioned upon re-entry (a permit is a good idea).
If you will be out of the
country for more than one year and you do not obtain advance
permission -- such as a re entry permit - you will be construed as
having abandoned your permanent residence.
If you obtain a re-entry
permit, make sure you return before expiration of the period of validity
to avoid suspicion. Remember, there is no absolute guarantee that even a
re entry permit will preserve your residency as it is only considered an
"application" for admission. In the worst case scenario, your re entry
can be denied and you can be ordered excluded.
What is a
Lawful permanent residents or
conditional permanent residents who wish to remain outside the United States
for more than one year, but less than two, require a re-entry permit. A
re-entry permit is not required for a trip that is shorter than one year.
(You should note that an absence of more than one year will break the period
of continuous residence required to become a citizen, even if a re-entry
permit is issued.) A Re-entry Permit is also issued to Lawful Permanent
Residents who want to travel outside the United States, but cannot get a
national passport from their country of nationality.
Why do i need a re-entry permit?
Re-entry permit enables a
permanent resident of the U.S. come back to the U.S. after traveling abroad
for longer than one year but shorter than two years. Usually, a green card
enables the green card holder to travel outside the U.S. for one year or
shorter period. If a permanent resident travels abroad for a period longer
than one year, the person faces a risk of not allowing to come back to the
U.S. on the ground that the person abandoned his or her permanent resident
status. A Re-entry Permit can be used to stay out of US up to 2 years. It
also serves as a passport to home country to a permanent resident of the
U.S. if he/she has no passport.
Aliens in the United States are not eligible for a re-entry permit if they
are not permanent residents or conditional permanent residents of the U.S.
A Re-entry permit, just like US green card, does not guarantee admission
into the United States. Aliens who have obtained a Re-entry Permit are still
subject to the BCIS inspection process at the port of entry. Usually, the
aliens with re-entry permit may be allowed to enter into the U.S. as long as
re-entry permit is valid.
What is the validity of a re-entry permit?
A re-entry permit is generally
valid for two years. However, if the permanent resident of the U.S. has been
abroad for accumulative four years in the past five years, the BCIS may at
its discretion only approve a re-entry permit with one year valid duration.
Within its valid duration, the permanent resident of the U.S. may make
multiple entries into the U.S. by using a re-entry permit.
What is a special immigrant
Those permanent residents who remain outside the United States for more than
two years must obtain a "special immigrant" visa at a U.S. consulate abroad,
in order to re-enter the United States.
I have already been issued a
re-entry permit. Does this guarantee my
re-entry to the United States?
Please note that neither the Re-entry Permit, nor the green card (for trips
taking less than one year), nor the "special immigrant" visa, will guarantee
that a permanent resident will be readmitted in the United States. The BCIS
officer always has the right to refuse entry to any permanent resident if he
or she deems that the individual has either abandoned the intent to remain
permanently in the United States, or has committed a crime, or falls within
one of the grounds for exclusion under U.S. immigration law.
A permit to reenter has no effect under the immigration laws except to show
that the person to whom issued is returning from a temporary visit abroad
and relieve him or her of the necessity of securing a visa from an American
Consulate before returning to the United States. It does not relieve him or
her from meeting the other requirements of the immigration laws. Persons who
have been convicted of or admit having committed a felony or other crime or
misdemeanor involving moral turpitude either before or after entering the
United States, other criminal, immoral, insane, mentally or physically
defective aliens, those afflicted with loathsome or contagious diseases, and
others found to be inadmissible under the immigration laws are subject to
exclusion if attempting to reenter, notwithstanding they may be in
possession of permits to re-enter.