Foreigners Returning with Resident Visas

VisaA person with a permanent resident also known as a (Legal permanent resident or LPR status) conditional resident (CR) who has stayed outside of the United States for more than year, or whose Re-entry Permit has expired, is subject to obtaining a new immigrant visa before he can enter the United States. The foreigner must renew his lawful permanent resident status.

There is an existing rule within the U.S. immigration law that grants special services to a returning legal permanent resident who has stayed outside the United States for circumstances out of their control.

Any immigrant holding a green card with the validity period of 1 year or 2 years and is unable to reenter the U.S. can apply for an SB-1 immigrant visa at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy near him and must prove his or her eligibility for an immigrant visa.

Once the returning resident visa is granted, there is no need for someone to petition for an immigrant visa on your behalf with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

However, the applicant must take a medical exam and pay medical fees along with visa processing fees.

Special Preference

Spouses or children of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces or U.S. Government Employee living overseas who are working in a foreign country by order of the United States government can enter the U.S. with their permanent resident card Form I-551 even it is invalid.

The family member must prove that he or she has not abandoned legal permanent resident status and that that spouse or parent is coming back to the United States.

Eligibility for Returning Resident Status

To be eligible for a returning resident status, applicant, must meet the requirements under the stipulations of the U.S. immigration law and must demonstrate to the U.S. Consul that:

  • He or she has maintained the status of a legal permanent resident at the time of leaving the U.S. and has exited the United States with motives of returning.
  • He or she will be coming back to the U.S. from a short term visit and if the trip is prolonged for incidents exceeding one’s control this must be proven.

Step One of Application Process

Anyone intending on re-entering the U.S. on a Returning Resident SB-1 Immigrant visa, is required to communicate with a nearby U.S. Consulate or Embassy three months ahead of time so as to allow time for processing of visa application and a visa interview.

List of Requirements

Applying for a Returning Resident Visa (SB-1) immigrant visa will require to submit a list of documents and application forms to the U.S. Consulate within your area and they are:

  • A correctly filled Application Form DS-117 to decide returning resident status.
  • A current Permanent Resident Card, Form I-551.
  • And a Re-Entry Permit if accessible.

Along with the application forms supporting documentation must be submitted and they are:

  • Travel records with travel dates. Examples are: passports stamps, airline tickets, etc.
  • Substantial evidence of social ties to the United States of America along with your intentions of returning. Examples are: copies of Tax Returns, documents of family, social and economic connections to the U.S.
  • Verification that your prolonged stay abroad was for circumstances outside one’s own control. Examples are: medical or health situations, death of a family, or employment with a U.S. company, etc.

After all the necessary documents have been submitted the U.S. consul will examine the application forms and along with the evidence provided and will decide if you meet the requirements for the Returning Resident (SB-1) status.

If approved applicant must qualify for immigrant visa in every other aspects of the procedure before obtaining the SB-1 Returning Resident Immigrant Visa.

Fees are Included

Applicant must be certain that nothing is free and that he or she must pay certain fees. Stipulated fees are for:

  • Application Form DS-117 for Determining Returning Resident Status.
  • Form DS-260 Application processing fee if approved.
  • Vaccination and a Medical Exam.

Second Step of Application Process

At this stage the U.S. Consulate or Embassy will give the applicant detailed instructions for the continuation of the processing for the Returning Resident (SB-1 Immigrant Visa).

While these instructions may slightly change by the U.S. Consulate the instructions will be as follows:

  • Before applicant’s Interview a medical exam must be taken along with a list of proper vaccinations.

Instructions for Interview

Will include what to bring to the interview such as:

  • Original Passport.
  • Application Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application.
  • A list of civil documents.
  • Two Photos.

Talk to an Immigration Attorney Now‎

Before applying it is important to visit the U.S. Consulate or Website to learn about a country’s particular instruction or contact an immigration attorney to help with the entire application process.

The Gambacorta Law Office is here to help you. Please feel free to contact us at 847-443-9303 for an office appointment. Our offices are in Arizona, Illinois