Information for Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs)

If you are a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), special travel considerations apply that you should be aware of.  If you are outside the United States for longer than one year, then you may no longer be eligible to return to the United States as you have abandoned your U.S. residency.

Please see below for more information on lost or expired LPR cards (“green cards”), re-entry permits, and abandoning your LPR status.

Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) are free to travel outside the United States, and temporary or brief travel usually does not affect your permanent resident status. If it is determined, however, that you did not intend to make the United States your permanent home, you will be found to have abandoned your permanent resident status.

If you plan to travel outside of the United States for one year or more, you need to apply for a Re-entry Permit (Form I-131) before departing the United States. A re-entry permit establishes that you did not intend to abandon status, and it allows you to apply for admission to the United States upon returning from abroad during the permit’s validity without having to obtain a returning resident visa. Re-entry permits are normally valid for 2 years from the date of issuance.

If you have been outside the United States over one year or beyond the validity of your re-entry permit for reasons beyond your control,  you may be eligible for a Returning Resident (SB-1) visa.

If you have been outside the United States for over one year or beyond the validity of your re-entry permit voluntarily, you may lose your LPR status and will need to start the immigrant visa process over.

Please note that if an alien was originally admitted to the United States in conditional status, he/she cannot qualify for SB-1 returning resident status if the conditional status was not lifted. He/She must have a new petition filed on his/her behalf with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and start the entire immigrant visa process all over again.

For further information regarding your international travel as a permanent resident, please visit USCIS website.

If your Green Card has been lost, stolen, or expired, you may be able to obtain a “Boarding Foil” valid for 30 days or less, for a single entry.  Please note that a boarding foil is not required if you have one of the following items.

  1. An expired Permanent Resident Card with a 10-year expiration date,
  2. An expired Permanent Resident Card (with a two-year validity), and a Form I-797, Notice of Action, indicating that status is extended,
  3. Orders from the U.S. government (civilian or military) showing that time outside the U.S. was on official government business.
  4. A valid Re-entry Permit.
  5. A valid ADIT stamp or the endorsement on your immigrant visa at the port of entry when you enter the United States, dated within the past year.

However, you should always check with your airline or transportation carrier before you travel because, in some situations, the airline or transportation carrier may refuse to let you board even if you are in one of the categories above. In that case, you may need to file a Form I-131A.

  • If you have one of the documents above, consult your air carrier. Completion of an I-131A and payment of the fee may not be required.
  • If you do not have one of the documents above, and you have been outside the United States less than one year or your re-entry permit has not expired, you can apply for a boarding foil. To issue a “Boarding Foil”, the consular officer interviews you to confirm that you hold Lawful Permanent Resident status in the United States.

Please note that if your two-year Permanent Resident Card expired, and you have not filed Form I-751 or Form I-829 to remove conditions of residence, you automatically lose LPR status and may not be issued a boarding foil.  Instead, you will need to restart the immigrant visa process.

Please click here for detailed instructions on how to apply for a Boarding Foil.

Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) planning to travel outside of the United States for one year or more need to apply for a Re-entry Permit (Form I-131) before departing the United States.  LPRs who stay outside of the United States for one year or more and who did not apply for a Re-entry Permit before leaving the United States risk the abandonment of their permanent resident status.

You must be physically present in the United States when you file the Form I-131 and complete the biometrics services requirement.  After filing your application, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will inform you in writing when to go to your local Application Support Center (ASC) for your biometrics services appointment.  Failure to appear to be fingerprinted or for other biometrics services, may result in a denial of your application.  The biometrics services appointment must be completed in the United States and cannot be completed by any office at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  However, once the biometric services requirement is fulfilled, you do not have to be in the United States for USCIS to approve your application and issue a Re-entry Permit to you.  You can indicate on your How do I Get a Re-entry Permit (PDF 667KB) that you want USCIS to send your Re-entry Permit to the Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Ho Chi Minh City for pick up.  For further information please see How Do I Get a Re-entry Permit (PDF 667KB).

After you receive the approval notice, you will need to come to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Ho Chi Minh City to collect your Re-entry Permit.  Please allow for at least two weeks after receiving your approval notice for the ICE office to receive the Re-entry Permit.  If the Re-entry Permit expires before you collect it, the document will be destroyed.  When you visit the ICE office to collect your Re-entry Permit, you must bring photo identification in the name that appears on your Re-entry Permit to verify your identity.

For additional information, or to verify that the ICE office in Ho Chi Minh City has received your Re-entry Permit, you may contact them directly using this form. The office does not accept walk-in visitors but will respond to your inquiry within 3-5 business days.

If you are a Lawful Permanent Resident and you have been outside the United States over one year (or beyond the validity of your re-entry permit) for reasons beyond your control, you may be eligible for an Returning Resident (SB-1) Visa.

Please note that if an alien was originally admitted to the United States in conditional status, he/she cannot qualify for SB-1 returning resident status if the conditional status was not lifted.  He/She must have a new petition filed on his/her behalf with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and start the entire immigrant visa process all over again.

Returning resident applicants can make an appointment here or contact us locally at 19006444 or from the U.S. at (703)665-7350.

At your interview, you will need to:

  • Pay a non-refundable filing fee at the U.S. Consulate.  Payment of the filing fee does not guarantee that the application will be approved.
  • Have a completed Form DS-117 (PDF 56KB).
  • Provide proof of lawful permanent residence such as your Green Card (Form I-151, I-551), Re-entry Permit/Travel Document, etc.
  • Tell us your dates of travel outside of the U.S. (airline tickets, boarding passes, passport stamps, etc.)
  • Provide proof that your protracted stay was due to reasons beyond your control.

A consular officer will review the submitted documents and evaluate whether you are eligible for an SB-1 visa.  If approved, you must still meet all other documentary and legal requirements to qualify for a new immigrant visa.

If the consular officer has determined that you are not eligible for an SB-1 visa, this decision will not be reviewed or reconsidered. There is no appeal process.

If you do not qualify for returning resident status, you must have a new petition filed on your behalf with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and start the entire immigrant visa process all over again.

The abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status is irrevocable.  If you relinquish your LPR status then you must qualify again for such status.  Therefore, give careful thought to abandoning your LPR status.  For assistance regarding the rights and responsibilities of LPRs, please contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ regional office in Bangkok.

If you want to abandon your Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status and return your Green Card (Form I-551) to the U.S. government, please complete Form I-407 and submit it along with your Green Card by postal mail or directly with the nearest USCIS international field office.  For further instructions, please visit the USCIS website.

If you are an LPR in the United States and in an abusive relationship with the petitioner, you have certain protections.  The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA), of the Violence Against Women and the Department of Justice Reauthorization act of 2005, established various protections for foreign fiancé(e)s and spouses of citizens and lawful permanent residents of the United States applying for K nonimmigrant or marriage-based immigrant visas.  The USCIS website has more information on these protections.

If you have additional questions about LPR issues, you may wish to contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regional office in Bangkok for assistance at the following email address: Bangkok@uscis.dhs.gov