Reentry Permit Frequently Asked Questions

What is a reentry permit, and why do I need one?

A reentry permit is a travel document that allows lawful permanent residents to return to the United States after extended periods of absence (up to 2 years) without losing their green card status. It is especially important for green card holders who plan to travel abroad for an extended period and wish to maintain their residency ties to the U.S.

When should I apply for a reentry permit?

You should apply for a reentry permit before leaving the U.S. for extended periods (typically more than six months but less than two years) to ensure you can return without any issues. It’s best to apply for it while you are still in the U.S.

How long is a reentry permit valid?

A reentry permit is typically valid for up to 2 years from the date of issuance. However, the validity period can vary based on individual circumstances.

Can I use a reentry permit as a substitute for a green card when traveling?

No, a reentry permit is not a substitute for a green card but allows you to maintain your green card status while traveling abroad. You should carry both your green card and your reentry permit when traveling.

Can I apply for a reentry permit if I am outside the U.S.?

You can apply for a reentry permit from outside the U.S., but the application process typically requires biometric fingerprinting, which you must complete at a U.S. embassy, consulate, or Application Support Center (ASC) in the U.S.

Can I return to the U.S. after the reentry permit has expired?

If your reentry permit has expired and you wish to return to the U.S., you may encounter difficulties. It’s advisable to renew your reentry permit or, if applicable, apply for a Returning Resident Visa (SB-1) before attempting to return to the U.S. after an extended absence.

How much does it cost to apply for a reentry permit?

The filing fee for Form I-131, Application for Travel Document (which includes the reentry permit), is $660. USCIS fees are subject to change, so it’s important to check the latest fee information on the USCIS website.

Can I apply for a reentry permit if I have been outside the U.S. for an extended period already?

If you have already been outside the U.S. for an extended period and did not apply for a reentry permit before leaving, it may be challenging to obtain one retroactively. In such cases, you should consult with your immigration attorney for guidance on your specific situation.

Can I travel frequently while holding a reentry permit?

A reentry permit allows for multiple trips during its validity period, but you should maintain strong ties to the U.S. and not use it solely for extended travel outside the country. Frequent or extended absences from the U.S. can raise questions about your intent to maintain U.S. residency.

Can I apply for U.S. citizenship (naturalization) while holding a reentry permit?

Yes, you can generally apply for U.S. citizenship (naturalization) while holding a reentry permit, but you must meet the naturalization eligibility requirements, including the continuous residence and physical presence requirements. Travel with a reentry permit does not disrupt your continuous residence, but you should be mindful of the time spent outside the U.S.
Ross Gregory
Ross Gregory
Tony Montana
Tony Montana
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Dana Davidson - Full Bio

Dana T. Davidson holds degrees from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and State University of New York at Stony Brook and has been practicing immigration law since 2003 in New York and nationwide. She represents corporations, individuals, and families in a broad range of immigration matters. Attorney Davidson has offices in New York City and Glen Cove.


  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, New York, New York
  • Juris Doctor – 1988
  • Honors: Moot Court Board, Member, Judge
  • State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York
  • Bachelor of Arts – 1982
  • Major: Political Science
  • Concentration: Business

Pro-Bono Activities

  • Safe Passage Project, Volunteer Attorney, 2013-Present
  • Educating the Educators, Founder, 2012-Present
  • Momentum Project, Board Member, 1991-1994 Bar Admission
  • New York, Eastern District
  • New York, Southern District
  • Washington, D.C.

Speaking Engagements
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2018, Berlin, Germany, Speaker on “Public Charge” panel
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Fall Conference 2018, Johannesburg, South Africa, Speaker: “Practice Management in the New Age” panel
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2018, Madrid, Spain, Speaker: “El Traje de Luces: Self-Sponsored Petitions – EB-1A and NIW”  AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2017, Brussels, Belgium, Speaker: “Continuing Blanket L Challenges”
  • Safe Passage Project, March 2017, Speaker: “Representing Unaccompanied Minors: Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and the Effects of President Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration”
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Fall Conference 2016, Speaker: “It’s Not About Money: I-864”
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2016, Vienna, Austria, Speaker: “K-Visa: Differences Between K-1 and I-130 Processing”
  • New York Institute of Technology’s Center for Entrepreneurship, January 2016, Entrepreneur/Executive-in-Residence
  • AILA Fall Conference 2015, London, UK, Speaker: Impact of joint sponsors on family-based cases
  • Goldman-Sachs 10,000 Small Business Education Program, October 2014, “What is required to grow a business?”
  • Dowling College, May 2013, Keynote Speaker at the first annual Latino Summit at Dowling College
  • International Taxation Conference, 2010