Returning Resident (SB-1) Visa

A lawful permanent resident (LPR) who has remained outside the United States for longer than one year, or beyond the validity period of a Reentry Permit, will require a new immigrant visa to enter the United States and resume permanent residence. A provision exists under U.S. visa law for the issuance of a returning resident special immigrant visa to an LPR who remained outside the United States due to circumstances beyond his or her control.

If you are an LPR who was unable to return to the United States after a temporary stay abroad of more than one year (or two years if you obtained a Reentry Permit before departing), you may be eligible for a Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa.

If your application for returning resident status is approved, you will be given a special visa that you can present to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) upon arrival in the United States. Please note that a Returning Resident (SB-1) Visa is not a guarantee of admission to the United States. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will carry out all the required inspection procedures, including determining admissibility or ability to enter, upon your arrival at a POE.

How to Apply for a Returning Resident Visa

You will need to be interviewed by a Consular Officer to determine whether you qualify for returning resident status. If the Consular Officer determines that you are qualified, there will be a second interview on a later date for the immigrant visa. There are separate fees for each interview.

You must meet the following requirements to qualify for returning resident status:

  • You had the status of a lawful permanent resident at the time of departure from the United States;
  • You departed from the United States with the intention of returning and have not abandoned this intention; and
  • You are returning to the United States from a temporary visit abroad and, if the stay abroad was protracted, your delay in returning was caused by reasons beyond your control.

To request an appointment for an interview with a Consular Officer, please send an email message to

When applying for a Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa, you must submit the following documents and other items on the day of your scheduled interview:

You must also submit supporting documents that show the following:

  • Date you departed from the United States (e.g., airline tickets, passport stamps)
  • Proof of your continuing ties to the United States and your intention to return (e.g., tax returns, and evidence of economic, family, and social ties to the United States)
  • Proof that your protracted stay outside the United States was for reasons beyond your control (e.g., medical incapacitation, employment with a U.S. company)

A consular officer will review your application and supporting documents to determine whether you meet the criteria for Returning Resident status.

If a Consular Officer determines that you are qualified for Returning Resident status, you must appear for a second interview to assess your qualifications for a Returning Resident (SB-1) Visa.  Prior to the interview, you must do the following:

  • Complete a DS-260 online application
  • Appear for a medical exam with a panel physician (there will be a fee for the exam and any required vaccinations)
  • Obtain a police certificate for any country where you have spent more than six months since your departure from the United States.
  • Gather any other civil documents requested by the Consular Section

Please come to the U.S. Consulate General at the designated interview time with the following documents and other items:

  • A current passport with at least six months of validity remaining
  • Two recent color photographs that meet the photo requirements for visas.
  • The confirmation page from your DS-260 application.
  • All requested civil documents (i.e., police certificates)
  • The immigrant visa processing fee (currently $205)

If the Consular Officer determines that you do not qualify for Returning Resident status, you may have to complete the immigrant visa process all over again to regain lawful permanent resident status.  For additional information, please visit