How Long does it Take to get a Reentry Permit?

How long does it take to get a reentry permit?


If you are a US permanent resident and are considering applying for a reentry permit you might be wondering: How long does it take to get a reentry permit?


In this guide, I’ll answer this question and I’ll also discuss different timing strategies when applying for your reentry permit.


If you need help applying for your reentry permit, please email me directly at




1. How Long does it Take to Get a Reentry Permit?

2. Why do You Need a Reentry Permit?

3. What are the Requirements to Get a Reentry Permit?

4. What Should you do if you Need to Leave the US Before Getting Your Reentry Permit?

5. Conclusion


1. How Long does it Take to Get a Reentry Permit?


To get a reentry permit, you are must file your reentry permit application with USCIS. Your physical reentry permit is then issued about 3 to 4 months after you submit your reentry permit application. While your application is processing, you are also required to attend a fingerprinting appointment at a USCIS office in the US.


2. Why do You Need a Reentry Permit?


There are 3 main reasons that a green card holder may need a reentry permit:


i. Leaving the US for 6 months or longer: If you are a US permanent resident and you leave the country for 6 months or longer, upon return to the US you are eligible to be questioned. Immigration officers may ask you questions to determine whether you have abandoned your permanent resident status. A reentry permit creates a legal presumption that you intend to remain a US permanent resident.


If you leave the US for a year or longer, your permanent resident card is no longer valid as an entry document. A reentry permit can be used to reenter the US for up to 2 years from the date it is issued.


ii. Frequent trips outside the US: Frequent trips outside of the US or spending more time outside of the US than inside the US can also lead to the same issues mentioned above regarding abandonment. A reentry permit can similarly help by creating a legal presumption that you intend to remain a US permanent resident.


iii. Cannot get a passport from your country of citizenship: If you cannot get a passport from your country of citizenship, a reentry permit can be used instead of a passport.


A reentry permit looks very similar to a passport. It is a small booklet with multiple pages for placing stamps/visas. It also has a biographic page with your picture and pertinent information.


3. What are the Requirements to Get a Reentry Permit?


There are 5 main requirements to get a reentry permit:


  • You must be a US permanent resident or conditional permanent resident
  • You must file a Form I-131 with USCIS
  • You must be physically present in the US when your Form I-131 is field
  • You must attend a biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment in the US
  • You must intend to depart the US


4. What Should you do if you Need to Leave the US Before Getting Your Reentry Permit?


Many permanent residents that need a reentry permit either have immediate travel plans or may not be in a position to wait 4 months for their reentry permit to be issued. If you are in this position, there are multiple potential solutions.


i. Leave after filing the reentry permit application: You are only required to be physically present in the US at the time your reentry permit application is filed and for your biometrics appointment (which is scheduled to take place about 6 weeks after you file your application). If you need to leave the US before your reentry permit is issued, you can leave after filing your reentry permit application with USICS and come back for your biometrics appointment. Your immigration lawyer can then mail you your reentry permit once it is issued.


Note: This option is only available if you have a valid passport. You should not leave the US without a valid travel document.


ii. Expedited Processing: In some cases, USCIS will expedite the processing of your reentry  permit application which can result in having your biometrics appointment scheduled within 2 weeks of filing.


Here are some of the main reasons USCIS will grant an expedite request:


  • Emergency situation
  • Humanitarian reasons
  • Severe financial loss to company or person
  • USCIS compelling interest
  • National interest situation
  • USCIS error


5. Conclusion


Once you file your Form I-131 (reentry permit application) It takes about 3 to 4 months to get your physical reentry permit. Depending on your case, there are ways to either speed up the process or to leave the US before your reentry permit is issued.


As a US immigration lawyer, I would be happy to help you throughout the entire process from filing to receiving your reentry permit. To get started, please email me directly at




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Michael Ashoori, Esq.

U.S. Immigration Lawyer

I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer and I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.

Since starting my law firm, I’ve helped hundreds of people from all over the world with their immigration needs. I’m very passionate, hard-working, and committed to my clients.

Got a question? Send me an email.