Background: A re-entry permit is a document that can be issued to a lawful permanent resident of the United States that is valid for up to 2 years and can be used in lieu of a green card when returning to the United States during its period of validity. The most common reason why LPRs apply for re-entry permits is that they want to travel outside the US for extended periods of time without being found to have abandoned their residence in the US.

Elsewhere (see here) it is suggested that while an LPR who has lost their green card but manages to get to a port of entry can often manage to convince a CBP officer to admit them, this is not guaranteed. The LPR could be deported and banned from the US for 5 years. In the current political climate, some people might feel that they don't want to take such a risk.

It seems to me that it would be very convenient for an LPR to always possess a valid re-entry permit that is kept in a safe place. Therefore, if their green card should be lost or stolen during a trip outside the US, they could use the re-entry permit to ensure a smooth arrival back in the US while they wait for a replacement green card to be issued.

Now, the issuance of a re-entry permit is at the discretion of USCIS. On Form I-131, the applicant must state the intended dates and destinations of travel. Is there a strategy for the applicant, who wants a re-entry permit "just in case", to obtain an approval, notwithstanding the fact that they may not have any concrete travel plans, or may plan to only travel for very short durations?

  • Have you looked at the application fee for a reentry permit? It's $660 including the biometrics fee. Do you know what the legal basis for being refused entry or banned from the US might be? Seeking entry without a green card is not a valid basis by itself. – phoog Jan 4 at 22:33
  • @phoog Yes. That's why I want to know whether it's worthwhile to try to apply for one. If the application is denied, the fee is not refunded. – Brian Jan 4 at 22:33
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    Why are you worried about being banned from the US? If you do lose your green card and need to get a transportation letter from the consulate, that costs $575 too. It seems to me that it's just better to safeguard the green card as something that costs several hundred dollars to replace. – phoog Jan 4 at 22:36
  • @phoog See the linked question on Law Stack Exchange. INA 212(a)(7)(A)(i) is the legal basis for a finding of inadmissibility. – Brian Jan 4 at 22:38
  • @phoog The Foreign Affairs Manual indicates that the purpose of a transportation letter is to permit a carrier to transport the alien to a port of entry. It does not entitle the alien to admission in the way that a green card would. – Brian Jan 4 at 22:38

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