A Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa allows foreign nationals to return to the United States and resume their lawful permanent residency if their green card has expired. Both U.S. lawful permanent residents (LPRs) and conditional residents (CRs) may apply for an SB-1 visa if they also have overstayed their visits abroad but can prove that returning to the U.S. was not possible at the time due to events beyond their control.
Who is Eligible for an SB-1 Visa?
In order to be eligible for a Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa you must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Before you departed the U.S. you were the beneficiary of a lawful permanent resident status
- When you left the U.S. you had intentions to keep your LPR status and return to the U.S
- You have spent over one year overseas because of factors beyond your control or responsibility
- You qualify for a U.S. immigrant visa. Take note that if you got a criminal record while in your home country, you might no longer be eligible for U.S. immigrant visas
- You are not ineligible for a visa in any other aspect
- You can produce enough evidence to justify your absence beyond the permitted limit
Legitimate Reasons That Can Be Considered Out of One’s Control
Authentic reasons which might be considered as out of someone’s control are:
- The applicant was severely ill and was unable to travel
- The foreigner got pregnant and it was a complicated pregnancy that restricted travel
- Passport and other documents were withheld due to a family dispute
- You were not permitted to leave the country in which you were residing overseas
How Does the SB-1 Visa Application Process Work?
If an applicant decides to apply for a Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa, you must contact your local U.S. Consulate and ask for specific instructions. The Bureau of Consular Affairs, an agency of the U.S. Department of State, recommends contacting your local U.S. Embassy three months prior to your intended travel. The procedure will include submitting two immigration forms and appearing for a consular interview.
What Happens If My SB-1 Visa Application is Denied?
A local U.S. consulate or embassy may decide if an SB-1 application along with the supporting documents will qualify as a Returning Resident since it looks like permanent residency in the U.S. was abandoned. In rare cases, a person can apply for a nonimmigrant visa to the U.S. if he or she has established a residence outside of the U.S. to which he or she intends to return.
Reach Out To An Immigration Attorney
Applying for an SB-1 Visa can be complicated especially if you were deemed that you abandoned your lawful permanent residence. If in doubt, call Gambacorta Law Office at 847 443 9303 to retain our services.