It’s important to be aware that, as a lawful permanent resident, conditional resident of the U.S., or U.S. green card holder, there are regulations and restrictions that govern the amount of time you can spend outside of the U.S. without interrupting your status. Did you know that remaining outside of the U.S. for more than one consecutive year (without a reentry permit) can cause automatic abandonment of your green card?
If you plan on traveling outside of the U.S. for an extended period of time, it's advisable to obtain a reentry permit ahead of time to avoid any issues. Even if you are not able to return within the validity period of the reentry permit, continuing to apply for them can serve as a good indication that you planned and intended to return to the U.S., even if you were not able to due to circumstances beyond your control. You can learn more about the process of applying for a reentry permit.
To successfully apply for the reinstatement of your green card, you will have to work with your attorney to assemble evidence of your continued ties to the U.S. during your absence and your unbroken intention to return to the U.S., as well as the circumstances beyond your control which prevented you from returning. It's advisable to provide as much proof as possible alongside your application for the best chances of approval.
Proof of continued ties with the U.S. and intent to return may include:
Of course, this is just an idea of the evidence your attorney may submit, and there are many other types of proof that you may assemble to prove your intention and inability to return. The application process for the visa is not complicated, but it is very strict, and the procedures must be followed exactly.
In addition to submitting your application with supporting evidence, you will also be required to pay application fees and to undergo an interview at the embassy or consulate. If your SB-1 application is approved, you will have to resubmit an immigrant visa application along with updated civil documentation, visa fees as well as a medical examination.
A benefit of applying for the SB-1 visa is that you can apply at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You should apply for the SB-1 visa as far in advance of your intended travel date as possible to allow time for the application to be approved, but the processing time on these visas is fast and generally doesn't take any more than 3-6 months. Of course, this is dependent on processing times and workload at your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, so it's best to apply 6 months or more before your intended date of travel when possible.
Due to the strict procedures and the risks of having an application denied, we strongly recommend that you consult with a reputable attorney like those at VP Immigration while assembling your SB-1 visa application. An experienced immigration lawyer with expertise on the SB-1 visa will be able to help you assemble your evidence and will give you the best chance of SB-1 approval and green card reinstatement.
Feel free to contact us if you have questions about the SB-1 visa and your eligibility. Our team of Central Florida immigration attorneys is experienced with SB-1 visa applications. Please call us during office hours at (407) 674-6968. If you have an emergency after office hours please call or text us at (407) 925-2554 and we will contact you shortly. You may also fill our online form or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you right away.