How Many Times Can I Apply for a Reentry Permit?

How Many Times Can I Apply for a Reentry Permit?

 

If you are a US green card holder and you need to leave the US for 6 months or longer, you may need to apply for a reentry permit. A reentry permit is a document that is designed to protect your green card  and your status as a permanent resident. More specifically, a reentry permit creates a legal presumption that you intend to remain a US permanent resident when leaving the US for extended periods of time or traveling frequently.

 

One issue with reentry permits is that they are only valid for a period of up to 2 years from the date of issuance. For many permanent residents, 2 years is not enough time. For this reason, some green card holders must apply for a second reentry permit, and in some cases, maybe even a third.

 

The question that these permanent residents often have is: “How many times can I apply for a reentry permit?” In this guide, I will answer this question.

 

If you have any questions about this topic or if you need help applying for your reentry permit, please email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com. I’m very responsive via email and would be happy to help you.

 

 

Overview:

 

1. How Many Times Can I Apply for a Reentry Permit?

2. Reentry Permit Requirements

3. Why Getting Multiple Reentry Permits Can be Problematic

4. Conclusion

 

1. How Many Times Can I Apply for a Reentry Permit?

 

  • There is no limit to the number of times you can apply for a reentry permit.

 

  • The regulations do not specify a maximum number of times you can receive a reentry permit.

 

  • That said, the regulations do limit the length of time your reentry permit is valid for, depending on how long you have been outside of the US.

 

  • Typically, a reentry permit is valid for 2 years from the date it is issued.

 

  • However, if since you became a permanent resident, or within the last 5 years (whichever is less), you have been outside of the US for more than 4 years total, your reentry permit will be valid for only 1 year (instead of 2).

 

  • Specifically, the Code of Federal Regulations Section 223.2(c)(2) states: “A reentry permit issued to a person who, since becoming a permanent resident, or during the last 5 years, whichever is less, has been outside the United States for more than 4 years in the aggregate, shall be limited to a validity of one year…”

 

  • In my experience, the highest number of reentry permits that I’ve heard someone get approved for is 3 separate reentry permits.

 

  • Important note: A reentry permit cannot be extended. Instead, you must apply for a new reentry permit.

 

2. Reentry Permit Requirements

 

To get a reentry permit, there are 5 main requirements:

 

  • 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 the Form I-131 is filed with USCIS.

 

  • You must attend a biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment in the US.

 

  • Your intent to depart the US must be for a temporary period.

 

 

3. Why Getting Multiple Reentry Permits Can be Problematic

 

As a US permanent resident, you are required to maintain your status. Leaving the US for 6 months or longer, or frequent travel out of the country, can put your status at risk. Immigration officers may check  to see if you have abandoned your status. Your status can be abandoned if your trip outside of the US was not temporary.

 

Temporary means that at the time you left the US, and throughout the entire time you were outside of the US, you had the intention to return to the US as your home or place of employment. The trip should be for a definite reason and should be expected to terminate within a relatively short period of time.

 

A reentry permit helps to protect your status because it creates a legal presumption that your travel outside of the US was temporary as defined above.

 

The issue with applying for multiple reentry permits is that once you've already received multiple reentry permits, it becomes increasingly difficult to prove that your travels and absence from the US are truly temporary in nature.

 

4. Conclusion

 

While there is no maximum number of times you can apply for a reentry permit, this does not exactly mean you will get approved for as many reentry permits as you want. The upper-limit seems to be at about 3 reentry permits. Even if your reentry permit is approved, the validity period may be limited to 1 year (instead of 2) depending on how much time you have already spent outside of the US.

 

If you need help applying for your reentry permit, or if you have questions about this guide, please feel free to email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com. I’d be happy to help you.

 

Resources:

 

 

 

 

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