Maintenance of Permanent Resident Status
Many permanent residents, for either professional or personal reasons, need to spend extended periods outside of the United States. If their absences from the United States are prolonged (sometimes as little as six months) they risk losing their green cards.
It is therefore advisable for permanent residents contemplating extended trips abroad to apply for a Re-entry Permit prior to their departure from the U.S. By filing an Application for a Re-Entry Permit, they are effectively advising USCIS to know that, although their absence may be prolonged (covering up to a two year absence) they do not intend to abandon their permanent resident status and intend to remain permanently in the United States on termination of their trip abroad.
An Application for a Re-Entry Permit must be applied for and received by USCIS when the permanent resident is physically present in the United States. The applicant will be scheduled to have their biometrics (fingerprints and photographs) taken at a later date (the appointment is scheduled in the United States, which means that an applicant who has departed the U.S. after filing the application will need to return to the U.S. to attend the appointment) and the Re-Entry Permit will then be issued.
Re-entry permits are issued for either a one or two year period of time, depending on how long the individual has been outside the U.S. They can generally be renewed a number of times, as long as the individual can prove that their ultimate intent is to return to the United States.
In order to be eligible for a Re-Entry Permit, the applicant must prove that they have not engaged in any activity that would make their ultimate intention of returning to the United States questionable. Engaging in activities such as filing U.S. tax returns as a non-resident or disposing of all U.S. assets and ties may jeopardize a person’s permanent resident status and ability to obtain a Re-Entry Permit.