I have posted in regards to bringing my mother-in-law here from Iraq on a green card via her daughter (my wife). My mother-in-law came through an IR-5 visa, which is for a parent of a US citizen who is at least 21 years old (again my wife).

She has been with us since June of this year and plans to head back to Iraq in November. Do we need to inform anyone or fill out any forms that she will be leaving the US for the time being? Someone mentioned I had to fill out a notice form but cannot find anything about it.

  • 1
    How long does she plan to be out of the US?
    – phoog
    Aug 30, 2017 at 16:28
  • Probably 6 months.
    – JonH
    Aug 30, 2017 at 16:37

1 Answer 1


The green card itself is sufficient for re-entry to the US after an absence of up to 1 year, without needing anything else.

If she wants to be absent for more than 1 year, she can apply for a Re-entry Permit (applied with Form I-131) which will allow her to re-enter during the validity of the Re-entry Permit, which is 2 years.

Note that regardless of the length of absence (whether it be less than 6 months or more than 1 year), she is required to maintain residence in the US, which is a subjective determination that depends on many factors.

Some people like to apply for Re-entry Permits even for an absence of less than 1 year, even though it is not needed for re-entry, as an indication of intention to maintain residence.

  • So do you advise me to fill out form i-131 i assume that is simply a form on uscis website?
    – JonH
    Aug 30, 2017 at 19:13
  • @JonH: I would say that for a trip of 6 months, it's not needed.
    – user102008
    Aug 31, 2017 at 4:21

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