Re-Entry Permits for Permanent Residents


The Nebraska Service Center, which adjudicates requests for re-entry permits (as does the Texas Service Center), has just issued some tips and guidelines for those needing a re-entry permit which are worth reviewing, as is reviewing what a re-entry permit is to begin with.

 What Is A Re-Entry Permit?

Once you are a permanent resident in the US, USCIS expects you to actually reside in the US and be physically present in the US.  Most trips outside the US are fine.  However, you should not have any trips outside the US of 6 months or more as this can be used to show that you are giving up your US Residence.  Trips of 1 year or more are fairly conclusive proof that you have given up your residency, and, upon re-entry to the US, the officer could put you in proceedings to take away your permanent residence.  In addition, if you are out of the US for long periods of time (4-5 months) on multiple occassions with very littel time spent in the US in between (a couple of weeks) the same could happen.

In cases in which you know ahead of time that you may be out for one long period of time, or many longish periods of time in a row, you have the ability to apply for re-entry permit.  This permit allows you to leave the US for up to a two year period and still re-enter the US without fear that they will place you in proceedings for no longer residing in the US.  The application itself is rather simple and straight forward, and you can renew the permit if you are going to be out for a period longer than two years.  However it is important to remember that you MUST be physically present in the US to submit the initial re-entry permit application AND any subsequent renewal applications.

What are the Practice Tips?

  • First, while the initial re-entry permit and the first renewal will be good for two years, all subsequent renewals will only be for one year.  This appears to only be the case at Nebraska, as Texas seems more willing to give two years for all permits.  Nebraska will make exceptions to this rule to those working for the US government abroad, international organizations (only certain ones) and the American University in Beirut (as well as the family members of all the above groups).
  • Second, if you submit photos for someone under 14 they will NOT have to have biometrics taken.
  • Third, many people who file need to have their biometrics taken quickly.  Many of the ASC Offices that handle taking biometircs are happy to take people prior to their biometrics date as long as you can provide a copy of your biometrics appointment and proof of travel.
  • Fourth, you can request that NSC expedite your biometrics appointment (but do not hold your breathe on this as many people request this, and they cannot grant it to eveyrone).

We hope the above is useful to those seeking a re-entry permit or those who are not familiar with the re-entry permit.  Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.


Author: Adam Frank, Esquire

I am an immigration attorney with over 20 years of experience. I was graduated from Brandeis University undergrad in 1990 and then spent a year traveling around Central America. In 1991 I began attending the University of Baltimore School of Law and was graduated in 1994. I began working in Immigration Law in 1998 when I joined a small law firm and, in 2000 opened my own firm with my law partner Ed Leavy. Sadly, Ed passed away in 2011. I am still a partner in my own firm with my current partner Brendan Delaney. Our firm is Frank & Delaney Immigration Law, LLC.

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