Returning U.S. Permanent Residents

There are many situations where Lawful permanent resident aliens are unable to return to the United States within the travel validity of their Permanent Resident Card or their Reentry Permit. This may be the result of a natural catastrophe, medical condition, or bureaucratic issues. Lawful permanent residents may apply at a U.S. Embassy or a Consulate for a Special Immigrant Returning Resident (SB-1) visa so that they can return to their home in the United States.

The applicant, seeing an SB-1 visa, must complete an Application to Determine Returning Resident Status with supporting documentation. The supporting documentation must prove that at the time the applicants left the United States, they had the status of a lawfully admitted permanent resident. There must be evidence that at the time that the applicants left the United States, they had the intention of returning back to the said country and never abandoned this intention. The purpose of the visit outside the United States was temporary and that the protracted stay was inevitable.

The consular officer will look at the supporting document provided to determine whether the applicant has retained residency in the United States or abandoned the United States. Some of the evidence that U.S. residence could be a driver’s license, a U.S. employer, children’s enrolment in school, U.S. tax filings, and evidence of property ownership. In addition, the applicant must show that their stay in the foreign country was temporary.

Evidence of Abandonment of the United States can be extended to frequent absences from the United States, sale of all U.S. owned property, family or business ties in a foreign country, failure to file U.S. income tax returns, and employment outside the United States. If the application is denied, notes must be entered into the system to explain to the reason for the application’s denial. Paper copies of a denied application will be destroyed after adjudication and scanning.

The consular office must conduct a personal interview with the applicant to determine whether the application for Returning Resident status is approvable. If the application is approvable, the consular office will open an immigrant case for processing. There will be a SB-1 interview appointment. The applicant will be required to pay the application processing fees, medical examination, security screening and all administrative processing that applies to IV cases. If everything is approved, the applicant can enter the United States and apply for a new Permanent Residency card.

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Category: US Immigration, US Spouse Visa

About the Author (Author Profile)

Mr. Robert R. Virasin is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor Degree in Political Science, Mr. Virasin completed his Juris Doctorate at the University of Houston and a Masters of Laws (Business) from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. Mr. Virasin is a member of the State Bar of Texas and is a licensed U.S. attorney with over 15 years of legal experience. Robert is a regular contributor and author of a number of immigration related articles.


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