As a United States lawful permanent resident (LPR), before you depart the United States for temporary travel abroad and then seek to return to the United States, you should review important information on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) websites. Learn about Travel Documents, including Re-Entry Permits and Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, on the USCIS website. For information for permanent residents returning to the United States from travel abroad, review the CBP website.
LPRs who have remained outside of the US for longer than one year can submit an application to determine returning resident status. LPRs who have remained outside of the US for less than one year and whose permanent resident card has been lost, stolen, or destroyed can submit an application for a travel document. Please email US Embassy Kinshasa at KinshasaIV@state.gov before filling out forms or submitting any non-refundable payments. We can assist you to determine which form and fees are applicable to your situation.
Returning Resident Visa (SB-1)
A permanent resident (called lawful permanent resident or LPR) or conditional resident (CR) who has remained outside the United States for longer than one year, or beyond the validity period of a Re-entry Permit, will require a new immigrant visa to enter the United States and resume permanent residence. A provision exists under U.S. visa law for the issuance of a returning resident special immigrant visa to an LPR who remained outside the United States due to circumstances beyond his/her control.
If you are an LPR unable to return to the United States within the travel validity period of the green card (1 year) or the validity of the Re-entry Permit (2 years), you may be eligible and can apply for a Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa.
When applying for a Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa, you should submit the following forms and documents to the U.S. Embassy Kinshasa:
- A completed Application to Determine Returning Resident Status, Form DS-117
- Your Permanent Resident Card, Form I-551
- Your Re-entry Permit, if available
- DS-117 Fee
You must also submit supporting documents that show the following:
- Dates of travel outside of the United States (Examples: airline tickets, passport stamps, etc.)
- Proof of your ties to the United States and your intention to return (Examples: tax returns, and evidence of economic, family, and social ties to the United States)
- Proof that your protracted stay outside of the United States was for reasons beyond your control (Examples: medical incapacitation, employment with a U.S. company, etc.)
Additionally, if you are approved for Returning Resident (SB-1) status, the following fees will be required based on the immigrant visa processing explained below:
- Form DS-260 application processing fee
- Medical exam and vaccination fees
Please contact the U.S. Embassy Kinshasa at KinshasaIV@state.gov for more information on Returning Resident visas requirements. You can learn more about Returning Resident Visas on travel.state.gov.
Lost, Stolen, or Destroyed Permanent Resident Card
If you are returning from temporary overseas travel of less than one year, and your Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card or Form I-551) has been lost, stolen or destroyed or are returning from temporary overseas travel of less than two years and your Reentry Permit has been lost, stolen or destroyed, you may complete Form I-131A, Application for a Travel Document.
The current filing fee for Form I-131A is $575.00. You must pay your filing fee online before going to a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate to file your Form I-131A. You must bring evidence of payment with you when you appear in person at your nearest U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate to file Form I-131A. Please check online to verify the appropriate fee for Form I-131A.
Please contact the U.S. Embassy Kinshasa at KinshasaIV@state.gov for more information on LPR Travel Documents or to schedule an appointment for this service.