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Immigrant Visas: Returning Resident Visa

Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who have been out of the United States for more than a year (or more than two years with a re-entry permit) may be eligible for a Returning Resident (SB-1) Visa. To qualify, you must demonstrate that you were in LPR status when you left the United States; you departed from the United States with the intention of returning and you have not abandoned this intention; and you are returning to the United States from a temporary visit abroad and, if the stay was protracted, this was caused by reasons beyond your control and for which you are not responsible.
If you have obtained a U.S. legal permanent resident card, but have lost legal permanent resident status because of a protracted stay abroad and now wish to re-enter the United States as a returning resident (SB-1), prepare the following documents:

  1. Original passport, green card, re-entry permit and/or other valid identification documents
  2. An explanation in English, explaining the reason for your overstay
  3. All evidence attesting to the reason for your overstay. For example, if a medical condition prevented you from returning to the United States, provide all relevant medical records, such as hospital records and doctor’s statements. All materials must be translated into English.

When you have assembled the documents required and completed form DS-117, Application to Determine Returning Resident Status, please email the Embassy at BishkekIV@State.gov to set an appointment for document drop-off.

After paying the application fee of $180, a consular officer will interview you. At that time, the officer will only determine if you are eligible to apply for an SB-1 visa. If the officer determines you are eligible, the Embassy will send you an IV instruction packet and you must wait for a second interview. On the day of the second interview, you must pay an additional visa-processing fee of $205.

Approval of the opportunity to apply for an SB-1 Visa does not guarantee the Embassy will approve your visa. A consular officer will make this decision only after he/she has conducted the second interview and reviewed all documents presented.

You must have evidence in both interviews that extreme circumstances beyond your control prevented your return to the United States. Whether or not an officer approves your application at either interview, the Embassy cannot refund either fee.