Re-Entry Permits Lawyers in Pennsylvania
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Pennsylvania Re-Entry Permits Attorney Helping Clients Navigate International Travel

Immigrating can open up new doors of opportunity and connect you to new places and people, but what happens if you want to return to your home country for a while or want to explore what else the world has to offer? Lengthy international travel can get complicated for a Green Card holder, but a re-entry permit can make it easier. Learn more about this important document below.

If you’re planning on traveling outside of the United States and need a re-entry permit, our team can help ensure that you’ve filed for and been granted the proper documents. We can help you understand when you need to file for a re-entry permit and what the requirements are for this form. If you have questions about your re-entry permit application, contact our firm today.

What Is a Re-Entry Permit?

A re-entry permit is a type of travel document that indicates that you are going to be traveling outside of the country for an extended period of time but that you aren’t planning on giving up your status within the United States. Under normal circumstances, your lawful permanent resident status expires if you are outside of the United States for a year or more or if you establish residency in another country. A re-entry permit keeps your Permanent Resident Card from expiring and keeps you from having to get a returning resident visa.

What Are the Requirements to Apply for a Re-Entry Permit?

To apply for a re-entry permit, you must have lawful permanent resident status within the United States, which means that you are a Green Card holder. The application process involves filling out Form I-131 with the Department of Homeland Security through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office. This form is called an Application for a Travel Document. It requires you to fill out your basic information, including residency status, and provide details on when you are planning on leaving the country and how long you will be gone. You will also need to provide information on the purpose of the trip and which countries you will be visiting.

How Long Can I Stay Out of the Country With a Re-Entry Permit?

Most re-entry permits are good for two years from the date of issuance. This means that if you leave on the same day, the maximum amount of time you could be out of the country would be just less than two years. However, people don’t necessarily start traveling that day, so it’s important to time your trip so that you will return before the re-entry permit expires. Re-entry permits are not renewable, and you have to apply for a new permit if yours expires. You must also be physically in the United States when you apply for a re-entry permit. This means that you may have to return to the United States to apply for and get a re-entry permit to finish your travel if you need to be gone longer.

How Long Does It Take to Process a Re-Entry Permit?

Re-entry permits are processed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is known for having long wait times for reviewing documents. A re-entry permit can take up to 12 months to be processed, but most are approved within 3 to 7 months, which means you’ll need to plan for one well in advance of your trip. Keep in mind, however, if you are going to be gone for less than one year and don’t plan on establishing residency in another country during that time, a re-entry permit isn’t required.

What Happens If My Re-Entry Permit Is Denied?

It’s important to remember that a re-entry permit requires an application process, which means there is always the chance that it could be denied. Most re-entry denials happen because the permit application wasn’t filled out correctly, didn’t have the appropriate accompanying documents, or the person didn’t pay the fee. For example, if you don’t provide a specific reason for your trip and your itinerary of countries, your re-entry permit could be denied. Re-entry permit applications may also be denied if you already have a valid permit because the process for getting a replacement permit is slightly different from applying for a new one.

You do have the option to appeal your denial, but it’s also possible to reapply. Keep in mind that reapplying also restarts the clock on how long it takes to process and approve the application, which could affect your travel plans. If you receive a notice of denial, it’s a good idea to speak with an immigration attorney who can help you understand exactly why you were denied and what your options are.

Re-entry permits can make it easier to travel internationally or enjoy a longer visit in your home country without worrying about being admitted back into the United States. If you’re a lawful permanent resident who is planning to be outside of the United States for an extended period of time, contact The Law Office of Rosina C. Stambaugh at 717-900-1818 to find out more about re-entry permits and how to get the process started.

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