Returning Resident Visas (SB1): The Basics


Permanent resident aliens who are traveling outside of the United States, but are unable to return to the U.S. within 12 months (or 2 years with a Reentry Permit) may apply for a special immigrant Returning Resident (SB1) visa.

To qualify for Returning Resident Status, the Lawful Permanent Resident must show:

  1. Lawful permanent resident status at departure of the United States
  2. There was an intent to return to the United States
  3. The visit abroad was meant to be brief, but by reasons beyond control, the Green Card Holder couldn’t timely return to the U.S.

If you have lost your permanent resident status, and you wish to apply for a “Returning Resident visa,” you must contact the U.S. Consulate and schedule an appointment to file an “Application to Determine Returning Resident Status” (Form DS-117).

Failure to receive the SB1 Visa leads to Green Card Abandonment. For more information on Abandonment, see our “Green Card Abandonment Post.”


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