SB-1 Visas: Applications for Returning Resident Visas

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Applying For Readmission At A U.S. Port Of Entry

If you are a permanent resident alien returning to the United States after being overseas less than 12 months (364 days or less), you may apply for readmission by presenting your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) to the immigration authorities at a U.S. port of entry.  You must also be able to show that you have not abandoned your permanent U.S. residence.

Exceptions For Military And U.S. Government Employees

The 12-month time limitation does not apply to the spouse or child of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, or of a civilian employee of the U.S. Government stationed abroad pursuant to official orders.  In this case, the spouse or child must present the Permanent Resident Card (Green Card), not have relinquished residence, and be preceding or accompanying the member or employee, or be following to join the member or employee in the United States within four months of the return of the member or employee. 

Reentry Permit

A permanent resident alien who intends to remain abroad for 12 months or longer should, at least 30 days prior to the proposed date of departure from the United States, apply while in the United States to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services - USCIS for a Reentry Permit. The permit has a maximum validity of two years and may not be extended. If a Reentry Permit is obtained, the alien may use it to reenter the United States within the period of validity of the permit.  Every alien applying for readmission must satisfy the immigration authorities that he or she is eligible in all respects for admission.

Returning Resident Visas (SB1)

Permanent resident aliens, who were unable to return to the United States for reasons beyond their control within the travel validity period of the Permanent Resident Card (Green Card), or the Reentry Permit, may apply for a special immigrant Returning Resident (SB1) visa.

To qualify for Returning Resident Status, you must show:

  •  That you were a lawful permanent resident when you departed the United States,
  • That when you departed you intended to return to the United States and have maintained this intent,
  • That you are returning from a temporary visit abroad and, if the stay was protracted, it was caused by reasons beyond your control and for which you were not responsible, and
  • That you are eligible for the immigrant visa in all other respects.

If you have lost your permanent resident status, and you wish to apply for a "Returning Resident visa," you must contact the Consular Section by e-mailing OsloLPR@state.gov in order to schedule an appointment to file an "Application to Determine Returning Resident Status" (Form DS-117) and submit evidence to support the above requirements along with filing the form.

Please find more information about the application process, including information on current fees, at Travel.State.Gov, the Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

The fee for filing the "Application to Determine Returning Resident Status" (Form DS-117) is non-refundable if your application is denied. Payment is accepted in cash (US$ or NOK) or credit card.

If the application for Returning Resident Status is approved by the consular officer, the Consular Section will send you more detailed information on how to proceed with applying for the visa.