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Returning Resident Aliens

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If you have obtained a U.S. legal permanent resident card, but you have lost legal permanent resident status because of a protracted stay abroad and now wish to return to the United States and you believe that you are eligible to re-enter the United States as a returning resident (SB-1), please contact the Immigrant Visa Unit at to schedule a review of your case.  For the review of your case you will need to prepare the following materials:

  • DS-117 (PDF 296 KB), Application to Determine Returning Resident Status
  • Original passport, green card, re-entry permit and/or other valid identification documents
  • An explanation in English, explaining the reason for your overstay
  • All evidence attesting to the reason for your overstay. For example, if a medical condition prevented you from returning to the United States, provide all relevant medical records, such as hospital records and doctor's statements. Translate all material into English.

To qualify as a Returning Resident (SB-1 Visa), you must show that:

  • You were lawful permanent residents when you departed the United States.
  • When you departed you intended to return to the United States and have maintained this intent:
  • You are returning from a temporary visit abroad and, if the stay was protracted, that it was caused by reasons beyond your control and for which you were not responsible; and
  • You are eligible for the immigrant visa in all other respects.

On the day of your review, you must pay a non-refundable application fee of $380. Only after paying the fee will a consular officer interview you.  At that time the officer will only determine if you are eligible to apply for an SB-1 visa.

If the officer determines you are eligible, the Embassy will send you an IV instruction packet and schedule your for a second interview. On the day of the second interview, you must pay an additional visa-processing fee of $404.

Approval of the opportunity to apply for an SB-1 Visa does not guarantee the Embassy will approve your visa. A consular officer will make this decision only after he/she has conducted the second interview and reviewed all documents presented.

You must have evidence in both interviews that extreme circumstances beyond your control prevented your return to the United States. Whether or not an officer approves your application at either interview, the Embassy cannot refund either fee.

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