FAQs: What is a reentry permit? What is the purpose of a reentry permit?

3dMaennchan.    Pixabay   .  The main purpose of the reentry permit is to allow permanent residents (“green card“ holders to leave the United States for an extended amount of time without abandoning their permanent residence.

3dMaennchan. Pixabay. The main purpose of the reentry permit is to allow permanent residents (“green card“ holders to leave the United States for an extended amount of time without abandoning their permanent residence.

What is a reentry permit?

A reentry permit allows a lawful permanent resident (“green card” holder) to travel outside the United States and stay outside of the country for an extended amount of time without abandoning their permanent resident status.

Who needs to apply for a reentry permit?

Generally, there are two categories of applicants that need to apply for a reentry permit:

  1. Permanent residents who plan on staying outside the United States for extended periods of time (longer than 1 year) and would like to preserve their permanent resident status. Permanent residents must maintain their status by living permanently in the United States. Lengthy absences and trips outside the United States may be considered an abandonment of one’s permanent residence in the United States. An absence from the United States for 1 year or more will generally break the continuity of your required continuous residence making you ineligible for naturalization. 

  2. Permanent residents who are stateless may use the reentry permit as their international travel document in lieu of a passport. Green card holders who cannot get a passport from their country, or who wish to travel to a place where they cannot use their passport may apply for a reentry permit.

How do I apply for a reentry permit?

To apply for a reentry permit, submit Form I-131, Application for Travel Document with the necessary supporting documentation, including:

  • A copy of the front and back of your Form I-551 (“green card” or “permanent resident card”); or

  • If you have not yet received your Form I-551, a copy of the biographic pages of your passport and a copy of the visa page showing your initial admission as a lawful permanent resident, or other evidence that you are a lawful permanent resident; or 

  • A copy of the Form I-797, Notice of Action, approval notice of an application for replacement of your Form I-551 or temporary evidence of lawful permanent resident status. 

What is the timeframe for this application?

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommends that you apply for a reentry permit at least 60 days before your planned departure to allow for biometrics capture that is a requirement for this application. For urgent situations, you may request for your application to be expedited.

In such cases, include a written explanation of the reason for the request to expedite with any supporting evidence available. The supporting documentation submitted must establish one of the following: 

  • Severe financial loss to company or individual; 

  • Extreme emergent situation; 

  • Humanitarian situation; or 

  • Non-profit status of requesting organization in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States Department of Defense or National Interest Situation. (Note: The request must come from an official United States Government entity and state that a delay will be detrimental to the U.S. Government.) 

If you are a green card holder and need to apply for a reentry permit, please contact us. We are here to help. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Tumblr for up-to-date immigration news.


Rasoulpour Torregoza is the law firm for immigrants, by immigrants. We are founded on the motto of LegalEase: we do away with the legal jargon and make law easy to understand, so you can focus on what’s important to you – going for your American Dream.
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