A permanent resident (called lawful permanent resident or LPR) or conditional resident (CR) who has remained outside the United States for longer than one year, or beyond the validity period of a Re-entry Permit, will require a new immigrant visa to enter the United States and resume permanent residence. You can learn more about Returning Resident Visas on usvisas.state.gov.
Green card holders who have been out of the United States for more than one year and wish to return to the United States to reside there may be eligible for a Returning Resident Visa, provided they can demonstrate that they left the United States with the intention of returning; have not abandoned this intention; and are returning to the U.S. from a temporary visit abroad. The LPR will be required to show that the protracted stay abroad was caused by reasons beyond his or her control, and for which he or she was not responsible. Please note that conditional LPRs, who did not have the condition removed, cannot apply for returning resident status.
If you believe that you may be eligible for Returning Resident status, you are required to:
- Open form DS-117 (56 KB), complete, print and sign the form.
- Furnish evidence to show that you:
- had the status of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time of departure from the U.S.
- left the U.S. with the intention of returning, have not abandoned this intention, and are returning to the U.S. from a temporary visit abroad
- your stay was protracted for reasons beyond your control, and for which you cannot be held responsible.
Examples of such evidence include, but are not limited to, documentation regarding your status in the U.S. and dates of travel, proof that you have continued to file U.S. tax returns and maintained economic or social ties to the U.S., and evidence that the protracted stay was due to circumstances beyond your control.
- An apppointment is required to submit form DS-117 plus supporting evidence and to have a first interview with a consular officer. In order to request an appointment, please send an email to BrusselsIV@state.gov .
- The application fee for a Returning Resident visa is non-refundable, even in case the Returning Resident visa application is not approved. Additionally, if you are approved for Returning Resident (SB-1) status, you will be charged a visa processing fee. The fees are payable at the Consular Section, either in cash or with a credit card (Visa American Express, Master Card, Discover). Visa and Master card holders are requested to obtain the authorization from their bank to make the payment at the U.S. embassy.
- For more detailed information, including application and processing fees, please visit https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/immigrate/returning-residents.html