Reentry Permit Processing Time: How to Overcome Timing Issues

Reentry Permit Processing Time and How to Overcome Timing Issues

 

A reentry permit is a travel document for United States permanent residents (similar to a passport). Having a reentry permit is important if you must leave the U.S. for longer than 6 months.

 

With a reentry permit, a permanent resident can leave the United States for up to 2 years and reenter the country without the need to apply for a returning resident visa.

 

To get a reentry permit,  timing is highly important. You are required to be physically present inside the United States when your reentry permit application is filed and accepted by USCIS. You are also required to attend a biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment in the U.S.

 

In this guide, I will discuss the reentry permit processing time, common issues regarding reentry permit timing, and how to overcome these issues.

 

If you have any questions, please email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com. I’m very responsive via email and would be happy to answer your questions.

 

Overview:

 

1. What is the Reentry Permit Processing Time?

2. Overview of Reentry Permits

3. Process of Getting a Reentry Permit

4. Issues with Reentry Permit Processing Time and Possible Solutions

5. Conclusion

 

1. What is the Reentry Permit Processing Time?

Quick Answer

 

From the day your reentry permit application is filed, it takes about 6 weeks for your biometrics appointment, where your digital fingerprints are taken. After your biometrics appointment, your actual reentry permit should be issued within 1 to 3 months. Total processing time: 2 to 5 months on average. 

 

If you request expedited processing of your reentry permit application (discussed below) and USCIS grants your request, it will take about 1 to 4 weeks for your biometrics appointment. Your actual reentry permit should then be issued about 1 to 3 months after your biometrics appointment. So with expedited processing, the total processing time can be anywhere from 1 to 4 months.

 

There are 4 key points throughout the process of getting your reentry permit.

 

1) Once you file your reentry permit application, you will receive a receipt notice from USCIS. The receipt notice is a confirmation by USCIS that they have received your reentry permit application.

 

2) After getting your receipt notice, USCIS will then send you a biometrics appointment notice. To get a reentry permit, you are required to attend a biometrics (digital fingerprinting) appointment in the U.S. Your biometrics appointment notice lets you know when and where your biometrics appointment is scheduled.

 

3) The next step is to actually attend your biometrics appointment. At this appointment, your digital fingerprints will be taken.

 

4) After you attend your biometrics appointment, the last step is actually getting your reentry permit from USCIS.

 

Important note regarding expedited processing: 

 

In certain situations (explained in more detail below), USCIS may grant expedited processing of a reentry permit application. If you are approved for expedited processing, the reentry permit processing time for your case will be faster than regular processing. I will display processing times for both regular processing and expedited processing below.

 

Reentry Permit Processing Time: 

 

1. Issuance of USCIS Receipt Notice (1 to 2 Weeks from Filing)

 

  • After you file your application for a reentry permit (Form I-131), USCIS will send you a receipt notice letting you know that they have received your reentry permit application.

 

  • Regular Processing: You should receive your receipt notice from USCIS within about 1 to 2 weeks of filing your reentry permit application.

 

  • Expedited Processing: You should receive your receipt notice from USCIS within about 1 week of filing your reentry permit application.

 

2. Issuance of Biometrics Appointment Notice (4 to 6 Weeks from Filing)

 

  • After filing your Form I-131, you will receive a notice from USCIS that your biometrics appointment has been scheduled.

 

  • Your biometrics appointment is where you will have your digital fingerprints taken.

 

  • Regular Processing: You should receive your biometrics appointment notice within about 1  month of filing your reentry permit application.

 

  • Expedited Processing: You should receive your biometrics appointment notice within 1 to 2 weeks of filing your reentry permit application.

 

3. Actual Biometrics Appointment Date (6 to 8 Weeks from Filing)

 

  • The next key point in the reentry permit process is actually attending your biometrics appointment.

 

  • Your biometrics appointment must take place at a USCIS Application Support Center (ASC) in the United States.

 

  • In extremely rare circumstances, USCIS may allow you to have your biometrics taken at a USCIS office outside of the U.S.

 

  • Regular Processing: Your biometrics appointment will be scheduled to take place about 2 weeks after you receive the biometrics appointment notice.

 

  • Expedited Processing: Your biometrics appointment will be scheduled for about a week after you receive the biometrics appointment notice.

 

4. Issuance of Reentry Permit (2 to 5 Months from Filing)

 

  • After you attend your biometrics appointment, the last step in the process is to actually receive your reentry permit from USCIS.

 

  • Regular Processing: Your reentry permit will be issued within about 1 to 3 months after your biometrics appointment.

 

  • Expedited Processing: Your reentry permit will be issued within about 1 to 3 months after your biometrics appointment.

 

Here is a Link to View Current USCIS Processing Times. You can use this link to check how long USCIS is currently taking to process cases. Where it asks you select the form, enter Form I-131 in the space provided. Then select the appropriate USCIS Service Center in the following space. If you need help determining the USCIS Service Center where you case will be processed, send me an email at Michael@AshooriLaw.com.

 

2. Overview of Reentry Permits

 

A reentry permit is a travel document for U.S. lawful permanent residents (looks similar to a passport). A reentry permit has 3 major functions:

 

1. Protects Your Status:

 

  • As a U.S. permanent resident, when you leave the US for longer than 6 months, or if you travel frequently, immigration officers may question you when you come back to the U.S.

 

  • Immigration officers are looking to see if you have abandoned your status as a lawful permanent resident (this can be done intentionally or unintentionally). Abandoning your green card can have major consequences.

 

  • A reentry permit creates a legal presumption that you intend to stay a U.S. permanent resident.

 

2. Can be Used as an Entry Document:

 

  • Without a reentry permit, a US permanent can travel outside of the United States for less than a year and then reenter the country using their Green Card (Form I-551).

 

  • If a US permanent resident leaves the United States for a year or longer, their green card is no longer valid to reenter the U.S. Instead, the permanent resident must apply for a returning resident visa (SB-1 Visa).

 

  • With a reentry permit, a lawful permanent resident can leave the U.S. for up to 2 years and use their reentry permit as an entry document to reenter the country.

 

3. Passport/Travel Document:

 

  • Some U.S. permanent residents are unable to get a passport from their country of citizenship.

 

  • Another major function of a reentry permit is that is can be used as a passport.

 

  • When traveling, many countries permit you to use your reentry permit similar to a passport (stamping the reentry permit and placing visas inside the reentry permit).

 

3. Process of Getting a Reentry Permit

 

To get a reentry permit, a you must file a Form I-131. You must be in the United States when the Form I-131 is filed, received, and accepted by USCIS. After the Form I-131 is filed, you will receive an appointment notice to attend their biometrics appointment. The biometrics appointment is where you will get fingerprinted. The reentry permit is issued within a few months after your biometrics appointment is completed.

 

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

 

  • You must be a U.S. lawful permanent resident or conditional lawful permanent resident
  • Your intent to depart the United States must be for a temporary basis
  • You must file a Form I-131 and provide supporting documents
  • Your reentry permit application must be filed while you are physically present in the United States
  • You must attend a biometrics appointment

 

4. Issues with Reentry Permit Processing Time and Possible Solutions

 

Many lawful permanent residents encounter difficulties with the timing of their reentry permit. For many permanent residents, they are in a rush to leave the United States as soon as possible.

 

To get a reentry permit, you must be in the United States at the time your reentry permit application is filed, received, and accepted by USCIS. You must also be in the U.S. for your biometrics appointment.

 

These requirements to be physically present in the United States  create issues that must be carefully planned and strategized for.

 

To get a reentry permit, there is no exception to the requirement that you must be physically present in the United States at the time of filing the I-131. There is no way around this. If you are outside of the U.S. when you file your reentry permit application, it will be denied.

 

However, there are some possible solutions regarding the biometrics appointment.

 

Here are some possible solutions to help you work around the biometrics appointment:

 

1. Expedited Processing

 

In certain cases, you can request that your biometrics appointment be expedited. If your expedite request is granted, you can receive your biometrics appointment notice within 2 weeks of filing your Form I-131.

 

There are a few scenarios where you can request expedited processing:

 

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

 

2. Reschedule Your Biometrics Appointment

 

Another solution may be to reschedule your biometrics appointment. Once you get your biometrics appointment notice, if it is scheduled for a day that you will not be able to attend, you can reschedule your appointment. To reschedule your biometrics appointment, just follow the instructions on your biometrics appointment notice.

 

Important Note: Your biometrics must be completed within 120 days of filing your Form I-131.

 

3. Walk-In Appointment

 

If you must leave the United States as soon as possible, one solution may be to attempt a walk-in appointment at a USCIS Application Support Center (ASC).

 

To do this, you should go to an ASC with your biometrics appointment notice, your ID, and evidence of why you cannot attend your scheduled appointment. At the ASC, you should then ask to have your biometrics taken.

 

It is at the discretion of the Application Support Center whether they will accommodate you. It is best practice to get to the Application Support Center early in the morning for best chances.

 

4. Leave and Come Back

 

Another solution for people who need to leave the United States ASAP is to file the Form I-131, leave the United States, and come back for your biometrics appointment.

 

If you plan to do this, make sure that your Form I-131 is received and accepted by USCIS before you leave the United States. You can file a Form G-1145 along with your Form I-131 to be notified via email or text message once USCIS receives and accepts your Form I-131.

 

Important: If you are applying for a reentry permit because you have been advised by a CBP officer that you are at risk of abandoning your permanent resident status, you should not leave the U.S. before attending your biometrics appointment.

 

5. Conclusion

 

A reentry permit is a travel document for U.S. lawful permanent residents, similar to a passport. Getting a reentry permit is a good idea if you will be leaving the United States for longer than 6 months, if you leave the U.S. frequently, or if you are unable to get a passport from your home country.

 

The reentry permit processing time takes about 4 months to complete. On average, you will get your biometrics appointment notice within 1 month of filing your Form I-131. The biometrics appointment will be scheduled for roughly 2 weeks after you receive your appointment notice.

 

There are options to speed up the reentry permit processing time. If you are approved for expedited processing, your biometrics appointment notice can be issued within 2 weeks.

 

You may also be able to have your biometrics taken early if a USCIS Application Support Center is willing to accommodate you.

 

If you have questions regarding anything discussed in this guide, or if you need help with your reentry permit, feel free to email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com. I’m very responsive via email and I would be happy to help you with your reentry permit.

 

Resources:

 

 

 

 

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Michael Ashoori Headshot

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.