There is a little-known
visa called the "SB-1" for certain returning residents. It may be
a good option for those Lawful Permanent Residents who have been outside
the U.S. for an extended period of time but who have not intended to abandon
Importantly, those LPRs who depart the U.S. for a period more than 6 months
may be found to have abandoned their status when attempting to re-enter.
In such cases, it may be beneficial to consult an excellent attorney and
you may need to file for the SB-1 visa in appropriate cases where there
has been an extended stay outside the U.S. prior to returning.
There are three requirements for those who wish to avail themselves of
the SB-1: (a) Had the status of a lawful permanent resident at the time
of departure from the United States; (b) Departed from the United States
with the intention of returning and have not abandoned this intention;
and (c) Are returning to the United States from a temporary visit abroad
and, if the stay abroad was protracted, this was caused by reasons beyond
your control and for which you were not responsible.
It is important also to note that the SB-1 may not be needed in certain
circumstances, for example, if you are the spouse or child of a member
of the U.S. armed forces or civilian employee of the U.S. government.
In such cases even if the
permanent resident card is expired, so long as the spouse or parent is returning and you have
not abandoned the status then you can return.
There are country-specific instructions for those wishing to file for the
SB-1 visa. Consult an attorney who can help with the instructions which
will depend on the particular consular post you are dealing with. Finally,
be aware that you will need to submit supporting documentation evidencing,
for example, dates of travel outside the U.S. (airline tickets, passport
stamps, etc.) as well as proof of your ties to the U.S. (such as tax returns,
evidence of economic, family, and social ties to the U.S.), as well as
proof that your protracted stay outside the U.S. was outside your control
(such as medical incapacitation, employment with a U.S. company, etc.).
Source of information in this blog post:
For further information see also "International Travel as a Permanent
Resident" from USCIS :