The reason to obtain a re-entry permit is to show that you intend to maintain your green card status when traveling abroad. 


If you’re a green card holder, you should apply for a re-entry permit if you plan on traveling outside the United States for more than a year but less than 2 years.

For trips of less than a year, your green card will remain valid without the need for a re-entry permit, although you should still take care to maintain clear ties to the United States (such as through your work, family connections, or home address) while traveling abroad.

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For trips of more than 2 years, or if you didn’t apply for a re-entry permit before leaving the United States.


You won’t be able to obtain a re-entry permit. Instead, you’ll need to apply for an SB-1 visa (also called a “returning resident visa”) at your nearest U.S. consulate or embassy before returning to the United States.


If you’ve applied for a green card but haven’t yet received one, you aren’t eligible for a re-entry permit. Instead, you should apply for Advance Parole if you need to travel abroad, even if only for a short trip. Learn more here.

NOTE:  You can also use a re-entry permit as a travel document if you can’t obtain a passport from your home country. Many countries will let you use a re-entry permit like a passport, and will stamp it with their visas and entry and exit stamps. Make sure to check whether the countries you intend to visit accept U.S. re-entry permits as valid travel documents.


To apply for a re-entry permit, you must file Form I-131 (“Application for Travel Document”). This form collects details about your planned trip, your foreign travel since becoming a green card holder, and whether you’ve been properly filing US tax returns.

You must file form I-131 from within the United States, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommends filing at least 60 days before you travel abroad.

You don’t have to remain in the United States until your re-entry permit is approved.

Once you’ve filed Form I-131 and attended your biometrics appointment, you’re free to travel abroad. You can indicate on Form I-131 if you’d like USCIS to send your re-entry permit for collection at a U.S. consulate or embassy in the country to which you’re traveling.


You can’t renew or extend a re-entry permit, so if your current permit is due to expire then you’ll need to return to the United States and apply for a new one. 


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  • For a refugee travel document:

    • A copy of an official photo identity document

    • Proof of refugee or asylee status

    • A statement explaining the reason for a “yes” response to any question in Part 6

    • If outside the United States, submit:

      • Two identical color passport-style photographs of yourself taken within 30 days of filing this application;

      • Evidence of your last date of departure from the United States, if available (such as airline tickets, boarding passes, etc.);

      • A statement explaining:

        1. The purpose of your trip outside the United States. Include documentary evidence to support your reasons for departure from the United States, if available;

        2. The reason you departed the United States without first applying for a refugee travel document;

        3. A description of where you have traveled since your departure from the United States;

        4. Your activities while outside the United States; and

        5. An explanation of whether you intended to abandon your refugee or asylum status at the time you left the United States; and

      • Fee receipt as proof you have paid the applicable filing fee(s) for the application at the U.S. embassy or consulate with jurisdiction over your location abroad.

  • For a reentry permit:

    • A copy of an official photo identity document 

    • Evidence that you are a lawful permanent resident:

      • A copy of the front and back of your Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card or a Form I-551);

      • A copy of the biographic pages of your passport and a copy of the visa page showing your initial admission as a lawful permanent resident; 

      • A copy of the Form I-797, Notice of Action, approval notice of your application to replace your Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card or a Form I-551); or

      • Temporary evidence of lawful permanent resident status.

    • Certified English translations of non-English documents (if applicable)

  • For an advance parole document for individuals who are currently in the United States:

    • A copy of an official photo identity document

    • Two identical passport-style photographs of yourself taken within 30 days of the filing of this application

    • A copy of any document showing your current status in the United States 

    • Evidence that your trip is for educational, employment, or humanitarian purposes 

    • An explanation or other evidence showing the circumstances that warrant issuance of an advance parole document

    • If you are an applicant for adjustment of status, a copy of a USCIS receipt as evidence that you filed the adjustment application

    •  If you are traveling to Canada to apply for an immigrant visa, a copy of the U.S. consular appointment letter

  • For advance parole for someone outside the United States (for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit):

    • A copy of a photo identity document for beneficiary, petitioner, and sponsor

    • A copy of the beneficiary’s passport identity page

    • A description of the urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reason, including documentation of a need for expedited handling, and the length of time for which the beneficiary needs parole

    • A completed Form I-134 with appropriate documentation as described in the form instructions

    • A statement explaining why the beneficiary cannot obtain a U.S. visa (if applicable)

    • A statement explaining why the beneficiary cannot obtain a waiver of inadmissibility (if applicable)

    • A copy of any decision on immigrant/nonimmigrant applications or petitions