USCIS allows lawful permanent residents to leave the United States under certain conditions. However, if an LPR leaves for more then one year, their LPR card may be deemed invalid. A reentry permit demonstrates to USCIS that the LPR did not intend to abandon their status and will allow for the person to reenter the United States without having to obtain a visa. The reentry permit is only necessary for trips of longer than one year.
You must apply for the reentry permit before you leave the United States. You must be undergo biometrics (fingerprinting) in the United States before you leave the United States. You do not have to stay in the United States once your biometrics have been obtained. In such a situation, you should note on your application for reentry permit (I-131) that you want the permit sent to the consulate in the country which you will be visiting.
If you have left the United States and been gone for more than one year and if you never obtained a reentry permit, you may need to apply for a returning resident visa in order to be able to come back to the United States. However, you must show that your long stay outside the United States was outside of your control.
Obtaining a reentry permit can be tricky. If you need assistance in obtaining a reentry permit, please contact St. Louis Immigration Attorney Jim Hacking at 314-961-8200 or by using our web contact form.