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The Current Policy for Lawful Permanent Residents Returning to the U.S.

April 14th, 2021

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has instructed airlines they should not determine admissibility of a traveler outside the parameters of these document requirements:

Unexpired Valid Permanent Resident Card: Passengers with valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card (PRC or “Green Card”) may board without any additional documentation.

Re-Entry Permit (valid and unexpired):

  • Passengers with valid, unexpired re-entry permit are permitted to board without additional documentation.
  • The document must be the original Re-Entry permit. Copies are not accepted.

Expired Permanent Resident Cards: LPR’s with expired I-551 may be boarded without penalty, provided the card was issued with a 10-yearexpiration date.

Expired Permanent Resident Cards Containing Extension Sticker (Form I-797):

  • Starting in January 2021, the sticker that is currently issued to Legal Permanent Residents to extend the validity of their Permanent Resident Card (PRC) (placed on the back of the card) has been discontinued.
  • The revised I-797 receipt notice, together with an applicant’s PRC, will serve as temporary evidence of lawful permanent resident status for 12 months from the expiration date on the front of the Green Card.
  • PRCs that contain the extension sticker will remain valid until the expiration date.
  • The document must be the original I-797 permit. Copies are not accepted.

Expired Conditional Resident:

  • A Conditional Resident with an expired PRC (with a two-year expiration date) may be boarded if also in possession of a Notice of Action (Form I-797).
  • The Notice of Action extends the validity of the card for a specified length of time, generally 18 months.
  • Travelers may not board without Form I-797.

Valid and Unexpired SB-1 Visas: travelers in possession of a valid, unexpired SB-1 visa in their passport may be boarded without additional documentation.

If you have a question about re-entering the United States, please contact Aguinaga Law Group.

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By Melissa Aguinaga, Esq.

Melissa Aguinaga

As an immigrant, Melissa Aguinaga has experienced the United States immigration system first-hand and firmly believes in its importance to the United States.

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