Immigration Law - Guide for Lawful Permanent Residents Planning to Return to the Unites States


DACA Update USCIS Processing Times Lawful Permanent Residents Returning to US


I am a Lawful Permanent Resident who has been outside of the U.S. for more than 6 months because of Covid-19 and travel restrictions – what are my options for returning to the U.S.?

For the tens of thousands of Lawful Permanent Residents stranded abroad because of Covid-19 and travel restrictions, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently issued guidance to its Carrier Liaison Program on the current boarding policy for lawful permanent residents (LPRs) attempting to reenter the U.S. with valid or expired documents, depending on the document in possession. The guidance is effective as of March 5, 2021.

Unexpired Valid Permanent Resident Card

  • Passengers with valid, unexpired Permanent Resident Card (PRC or “Green Card”) may be boarded without any additional documentation.

Re-Entry Permit (I-327): 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: Ten-year validity

  • LPR’s with expired I-551 (green card) 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 LPRs to extend the validity of their 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: Two-year validity

  • 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.

  • Do not board the traveler if they are not in possession of Form I-797.

SB-1 Visas: Valid and Unexpired

  • Travelers in possession of a valid, unexpired SB-1 visa in their passport may be boarded without additional documentation.

Legal Editor: Peter R. Tovey