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 lawful permanent residents. With a valid reentry permit, a lawful permanent resident can travel outside of the United States for extended periods of time and reenter the country without the need to apply for a returning resident visa.

 

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 or help you with your reentry permit.

 

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?

 

Here is a quick breakdown of the reentry permit processing time

 

There are 3 key points throughout the process of getting your reentry permit.

 

  • Biometrics Notice
    • After filing your Form I-131 (the form needed to apply for a reentry permit), you will receive a notice from USCIS that your biometrics appointment has been scheduled.
    • Your biometrics appointment is where you will have your photo taken and you will be fingerprinted.

 

  • Biometrics Appointment Date
    • The second key date is the date your biometrics appointment is scheduled for.

 

  • Reentry Permit Issued
    • The third important date in the process is when the physical reentry permit is actually issued.

 

Regular Processing

 

  • Biometrics Notice: On average, you receive your biometrics appointment notice in about a month from the time you file your Form I-131.

 

  • Biometrics Appointment Date: Your biometrics appointment is scheduled for about 2 weeks after you receive the appointment notice.

 

  • Reentry Permit Issued: The reentry permit is issued within about 4 months from the time your application is filed.

 

 

Expedited Processing

 

  • Biometrics Notice: With expedited processing, you can get your biometrics appointment notice within a week from filing your Form I-131.

 

  • Biometrics Appointment Date: Your biometrics appointment can be scheduled about 2 weeks from the time you file your Form I-131.

 

  • Reentry Permit Issued: Your reentry permit will be issued within 3 to 4 months from the time you filed your Form I-131.

 

 

2. Overview of Reentry Permits

 

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

 

1. Extended Travel: Without a reentry permit, a lawful 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 lawful permanent resident leaves the United States for a year or longer, they can no longer use their green card to reenter the country. Instead, they must apply for and get approved for a returning resident visa. With a reentry permit, a lawful permanent resident can leave the country for up to 2 years and reenter the country without needing a returning resident visa.

 

2. Frequent Travel: As a lawful permanent resident, you are required to maintain your status and you must intend to permanently reside in the United States. If you ever abandon your intent to permanently reside in the United States, then your status as a lawful permanent is no longer valid. For U.S. permanent residents who frequently travel, they risk raising the presumption that they no longer intend to permanently reside in the United States. A valid reentry permit creates the presumption that a lawful permanent resident does not intend to abandon their status or their intent to permanently reside in the United States.

 

3. Passport/Travel Document: Some permanent residents of the United States 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, a lawful permanent resident can have their reentry permit stamped as a passport.

 

3. Process of Getting a Reentry Permit

 

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

 

To get a reentry permit, there are 4 main requirements:

 

  • You must be a U.S. lawful permanent resident or conditional lawful permanent resident
  • You must intend to depart the U.S. temporarily
  • You must file a Form I-131 and provide supporting documents
  • Your reentry permit application must be filed while you are 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. However, to get a reentry permit, you must be in the United States at the time the reentry permit is filed and received by USCIS, and you must be in the United States for your biometrics appointment. These requirements to be physically present in the United States  create issues that must be carefully planned for and strategized around.

 

Regarding the requirement to be physically present in the United States at the time of filing the I-131, there is no way around this.

 

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 notice be expedited. If an 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

 

  • 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. If you need to do your biometrics as soon as possible, you can go to an Application Support Center (ASC) with your biometrics appointment notice and evidence of your planned travel and 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. Alternatively, if you’d like to push your biometrics appointment back, you can follow the instructions on the appointment notice to move your appointment later.

 

3. 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 by USCIS before you leave the United States. You can file a Form G-1145 with your Form I-131 to be notified via email or text message once USCIS receives your Form I-131.

 

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 an extended period of time, if you travel outside of 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 a 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 process if you need to. If you satisfy one of the conditions for making an expedite request, you can have your biometrics appointment notice issued within 2 weeks.

 

You may also be able to complete your biometrics ahead of schedule if the Application Support Center is willing to accommodate you.

 

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

 

Resources:

 

 

 

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