Returning Resident Visas
A lawful permanent resident (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 travel.state.gov.
Do I qualify?
Consideration for returning resident status will only be given to Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) who:
- left the United States with the intention of returning,
- have not abandoned this intention,
- and are returning to the United States from a temporary visit abroad.
If the stay was protracted, the LPR will be required to show that this was caused by reasons beyond his or her control. Please note that conditional LPRs, who did not have the condition removed, cannot apply for returning resident status.
Please note, applicants must clearly demonstrate the above conditions have been met before the returning resident status is approved. Receipt of returning resident status is not automatic. Applicants are required to pay for the application regardless of outcome.
If you believe that you may be eligible for returning resident status, you are required to:
- Complete, save and send form DS-117to ConsularAccra@state.gov. Please bring a signed copy to the interview.
- Provide 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; and,
- your stay was protracted for reasons beyond your control, and for which you cannot be held responsible.
Upon receipt, your application will be reviewed and an appointment scheduled for you to attend an interview with a U.S. consular officer.
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 United States, and evidence that the protracted stay was due to circumstances beyond your control. Do NOT send original supporting documents or passports.
In defining the term “temporary” some of the elements that are examined are:
- Reason for absence: traveler should have a definite reason for traveling abroad temporarily.
- Termination date: the visa abroad should be expected to terminate within a relatively short period, fixed by some early event.
- Place of home or employment: The applicant must expect to return to the United States as an actual home or place of employment. He or she must possess the requisite intent to do so at the time of their departure, and maintain it during the course of their sojourn.