“I’m A Green Card Holder & I’ve Been Absent From The US For A Period Of Time During The COVID-19 Pandemic. Is This A Problem?”

The answer will depend on many factors, including how long you have been absent from the US, your overall travel history and the validity of your Green Card. In short, if you are in this position, we would advise that you speak with a US immigration attorney, in order to seek advice on whether you are likely to be deemed to have abandoned your Green Card, by virtue of your absence from the US.

If there is a possibility or likelihood you may be deemed to have abandoned your Green Card, an attorney will be able to advise on what options, if any, are available to enable you to return to the US.

“My Green Card Has Expired. Can I Still Board A Flight To The US?”

If you are in this position, we would recommend that you seek advice from a US immigration attorney prior to scheduling flights, to ascertain if you are likely to be admitted to the US.

For information purposes, on April 9, 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed that airlines may accept the following documents for boarding of US Lawful Permanent Residents (“Green Card holders”):

  • Unexpired valid Permanent Resident Card
  • Valid and unexpired Reentry Permit
  • Expired Permanent Resident Card, provided it was issued with a 10-year validity.
  • Expired Permanent Resident Card containing extension sticker/Form I-797:
    • Starting January 2021, the sticker that is currently issued to LPRs to extend the validity of their Permanent Resident Card (placed on the back of the card) has been discontinued.
    • The revised I-797 receipt notice, together with an applicant’s Permanent Resident Card, will serve as temporary evidence of Lawful Permanent Resident status for 12 months from the expiration date on the front of the card.
    • A Permanent Resident Card that contains the extension sticker will remain valid until the expiration date.
    • The document must be the original I-797 permit (a copy is not accepted).
  • Expired Conditional Resident Card with a two-year validity, provided the applicant also has a Notice of Action extending the validity of the Green Card
  • Valid and unexpired SB-1 Returning Resident Visa.

Please note, permission to board a flight to the US does not guarantee admission to the US at the Port of Entry. The final determination on admission to the US will be made by the CBP officer at the Port of Entry.


“What is a Reentry Permit?”

A reentry permit is a document that allows a Green Card holder to be outside of the US for up to 2 years generally (subject to the duration of previous absences), without being deemed to have abandoned their US Lawful Permanent Resident status.

In order to file an application for a reentry permit, the Green Card holder must be in the US at the time of filing and must attend a biometrics appointment in the US.

If you intend to travel outside of the US for a period of 6 months or more, or it is likely that you will be travelling in and out of the US frequently for the foreseeable future, we would recommend that you contact us to discuss the merits of filing a reentry permit application, to safeguard your US Lawful Permanent Resident status.


“What is an SB-1 Returning Resident Visa?”

Generally, if a US Lawful Permanent Resident remains outside of the US for 12 months or more, their Green Card becomes invalid as an entry document.

An SB-1 Returning Resident Visa is a visa that allows US Lawful Permanent Residents who have remained outside the United States for longer than 12 months (or the period of validity of a Re-entry Permit) to travel back to the US.

An applicant may be eligible for a Returning Resident Visa if they meet the following requirements:

  • They departed the US with the intention of returning and have not abandoned their intention;
  • They are returning to the US from a temporary visit abroad; and
  • They can demonstrate that the reasons for remaining abroad were beyond their control and for which they were not responsible.

The success of an SB-1 Returning Resident Visa application ultimately depends on strategy, the presentation of the case and the quality of evidence available. As such, if you believe you may be eligible for a Returning Resident Visa, we would recommend that you contact us to discuss your case further.

Davies Legal Immigration

At Davies Legal Immigration, we represent clients in connection with all types of US immigration. We provide a comprehensive service, including clear and concise advice from the outset, a pragmatic approach and efficient working practices. We understand the importance of our cases to clients and adopt a well-reasoned, diligent approach, in order to maximize your prospects of success. Call now to speak to a licensed US immigration attorney and obtain a free, no obligation quote.