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. You can learn more about Returning Resident Visas on usvisas.state.gov.
A former immigrant who has lost U.S. resident status and desires to return to the United States must do so using a new immigrant visa based on either a new approved immigrant visa petition or obtain returning resident status. A U.S. relative (spouse, parent, adult offspring or sibling) or your U.S. employer may file an immigrant petition on your behalf in the normal manner. Information on the various types of immigrant and employment based petitions are contained elsewhere in this website.
The second way is for the immigrant to apply for returning resident status. An application for returning resident status requires evidence of 1) the applicant’s continuing, unbroken ties to the United States, 2) that the stay outside the United States was truly beyond the applicant’s control and 3) that the intent of the applicant was always to return to the United States. Evidence may consist of continuous compliance with U.S. tax law, ownership of property and assets in the United States, and maintenance of U.S. licenses and memberships. Having U.S. relatives, attending school overseas or stating intent to return is insufficient. You must have proof of the three elements listed above.
Documents required to apply for a returning resident status.
How To Qualify
Under Section 101(a)(27)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, an alien may classify as a special immigrant if the consular officer can clearly determine that:
- The alien had the status of a legal permanent resident at the time of departure from the United States.
- The alien departed from the United States with the intention of returning and has not abandoned this intention.
- The alien is returning to the United States from a temporary visit abroad and, if the stay abroad was protracted, this was caused by reasons beyond the alien’s control and for which the alien was not responsible.
Applicants for Returning Resident status must complete Form DS-117, Form DS-230 I & II and pay a filing fee. The DS-117, DS-230 I & II and supporting documents (except for the filing fee) should be submitted by mail to the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown. After reviewing the documents, you will be contacted if the forms are not properly completed or if supporting documents are missing. If forms and documents look sufficient for an interview with a consular officer, we will schedule an interview appointment to determine if you are qualified for Returning Resident status and will send you an appointment letter. Please include your Fax Number and Email Address in your application. You will be required to pay the DS-117 filing fee on the day of your interview.
If returning resident status is approved the applicant will need to apply for an immigrant visa .
Checklist of Necessary Supporting Documents
- English translations of all foreign language documents are required. Any foreign language document must be accompanied by a full English translation that the translator has certified as complete and correct. The translator must certify that he/she is competent to translate the foreign language into English. It is not necessary to have the translation notarized.
- It is strongly recommended that applicants keep a duplicate copy of all documents submitted in connection with the application. The Embassy does not provide copying services.
Form DS-117: Completed application to determine Returning Resident Status
Forms DS-230 Part I and Part II: Completed application for immigrant visa and alien registration. Part I – Biographic Data Part II – Sworn Statement
Copies of Form I-551: Copies of the green card
Copies of Passport Pages: Copies of passport pages showing your identity, admission into the United States as a legal permanent resident, and the immigration stamp on your return to the Eastern Caribbean from the U.S.
Proof of Ties to the U.S. and Intent to Return: U.S. tax returns and evidence of economic, family, and social ties to the United States.
Evidence of Stay Abroad for Reasons Beyond Control: Evidence that the protracted stay abroad was beyond your control (e.g. medical incapacitation, employment with U.S. company, etc.)