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 their status.
Importantly, those LPRs who depart the U.S. for a period of 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 immigration 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:
- Had the status of a lawful permanent resident at the time of departure from the United States
- Departed from the United States with the intention of returning and have not abandoned this intention
- 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.)
- Proof of your ties to the U.S. (such as tax returns, evidence of economic, family, and social ties to the U.S.)
- Proof that your protracted stay outside the U.S. was outside your control (such as medical incapacitation, employment with a U.S. company, etc.)
Don't hesitate to contact the Modi Law Firm, PLLC to get started on your case. Our experienced Houston visa attorneys are dedicated to helping our clients and provide personalized and compassionate legal representation. Call today to set up a case evaluation!
- Source of information in this blog post: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/immigrate/types/returning-residents.html
- For further information see also "International Travel as a Permanent Resident" from USCIS: https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/after-green-card-granted/international-travel-a-permanent-resident