Covid-19 has affected all of us in ways that we never saw coming. Many immigrants who have abided by the laws of the country, and kept up with all processes the government has required of them, are stuck in foreign countries due to travel bans. Many of them will overstay their visa in that foreign country. So now what, what can be done?
If you are outside of the United States for less than one year
If you are a legal permanent resident and you have been out of the United States for over six months but less than one year, you will still be permitted to travel to the United States if your travel documentation is valid, such as your passport or a U.S. driver’s license. You can re-enter the United States if your green card is expired as long as you have a current passport or other current identification.
If you are outside of the United States for over one year
Under current regulations, a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United with a green card must return to the United States within 364 days of the last departure in order to retain status as a permanent resident. If the person has obtained a re-entry permit (Form I-131), the person must return to the United States within the validity of the re-entry permit in order to retain status as a permanent resident. Re-entry permits cannot be extended, and applications are only accepted in the United States by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. See www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Resources/B5en.pdf for more information.
If you are an LPR who remains outside the United States for over one year without a valid re-entry permit and has jeopardized his/her legal resident status
If such an individual wishes to return to the United States as an LPR, two options exist:
In order to apply for an SB-1 visa, the applicant should schedule an online appointment with the U.S. Consulate, once re-opened for routine visa services. If the travel is urgent, or the applicant is unable to schedule an appointment online, he or she may visit U.S. Consulate General. The applicant must consult with their designated consulate for more information on the necessary documents.
We hope that this information is of use and helps someone as knowledge is power and we must exercise our rights. For any further information or to schedule a consultation please do not hesitate to call us at (973)542-0200.