What Lawful Permanent Residents Need to Know About Re-Entry Permits

What Lawful Permanent Residents Need to Know About Re-Entry Permits


While you are permitted to leave the United States as a lawful permanent resident or green card holder, you are still subject to certain restrictions. Too much travel can disrupt your ability to show continuous residence in the United States, which can threaten your green card status and jeopardize your ability to seek citizenship later.

It’s important to understand your travel and re-entry requirements.

Here’s what you need to know.

Traveling for Less Than 1 Year

Green card holders may leave and return multiple times if they don’t plan to be gone for more than one year. However, you’ll still be subject to an eligibility screening each time you return.

For the most part, we recommend that lawful permanent residents (LPRs) avoid travel at all unless they absolutely need to leave the country on an emergency basis. 

Gone For More than One Year

If you are going to be gone for more than one year you’ll need a re-entry permit. Getting this permit offers a number of benefits. 

  • If you get the permit in advance, you will not need to get the returning resident visa when you come back to the United States.
  • Allows you to travel for a period of up to two years. 

You must apply for your re-entry permit before you leave the United States.  A reentry permit is also known as “Advance Parole.” 

Emergency Travel

Like all immigration documents, a reentry permit can take some time to process. What if you need to leave fast, because the trip is an emergency?

If you can demonstrate that the events that are prompting you to leave are truly beyond your control you may be able to get an expedited reentry permit appointment. You’ll need to bring your completed I-131, the permit fee, two passport style photos, your ID, and evidence to support the emergency nature of your request. 

What happens if you don’t get a reentry permit?

You’ll need to apply for an immigrant returning resident’s visa instead. This is undesirable because it means re-establishing eligibility, getting a new medical exam, doing your biometrics all over again, and going through USCIS interviews again. 

Consult with your immigration attorney before traveling!

Traveling always runs the risk that you might not be able to return to the United States. That’s we recommend contacting our office before you take any journeys. We can help you through the reentry pass process, help spot any potential issues that might keep you from re-entering the country, and ensure that the process of getting your permit is as smooth and as easy as possible.

Got questions? We’re ready to help! Contact our office to get started today. 

See also:

How Do Green Card Renewals Work?

Have You Been Waiting Too Long For Your Green Card?

Why an Immigration Attorney is Your Best Bet

In-Office Consultation

Realizing Your Dreams for a New Life in the United States