SB-1 Visa FAQs

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 - 03:32

Rights and Obligations after Green Card


1. I got my green card after that should I notify any US government agencies and Indian government regarding the change in status and having received my Green Card? <br>
2. Is there any restriction on my traveling outside the USA when I am on Green Card status?<br>
3. So what if I want to go to India for two months? <br>
4. What is N-470?<br>
5. Does any unemployment in the future affect Green card?


1. There is no such requirement that I am aware of at this point today (June 2017) that you have to notify any US government agency or Indian government just because you received your Green Card. However, what you should do is you should inform your employer that you have got your Green Card so they can update your Form I-9 which is an internal matter within the files of the employer. They don't have to update any government agencies.


2. Now, traveling has certain predicates or certain dependencies that should be calculated and that should be known. First of all, people have this idea that if I leave the USA for less than 6 months I won't lose my Green Card. Well, its little bit more complicated than that. Technically, if you leave the United States after you got the Green Card, you leave the United States with the intention to never come back even if you are gone for one day and the second day you change your mind and come back. If it could be proven that you left with the intention to never come back your Green Card is gone. So, the first thing very important - your intention. If you have to travel outside the USA where your intention is never to come back, your Green Card technically can be lifted.

3. No problem at all, especially when your home is in the USA, you live here, you work here, your children go to school here taking vacations for a month, two months even three -four months is not the problem. So, some of these factors are important. Sometimes what happens is, let’s say you are in the USA and decide to go to India and take the job over there for two or three months and that goes up to seven or eight months you could be in trouble because the government can say that it looks like you quit your job here. The job is important, where your children are going to school is important, your permanent home is important. These are not issues for most of the people who live in the USA but I am just pointing out these so when a situation arrives I want you to consult a lawyer before you make a plan.

An Intention is a state of mind, the state of mind cannot be directly looked at it can only be inferred from circumstances. So circumstantial evidence is important to prove your intention. For example, if you leave the USA with a one-way ticket and you don't come back for one year, chances are you lost your Green Card because if you are outside the USA for more than one year you will automatically lose your Green Card.

There is something called Reentry permit which allows you to go up to two years and the reentry permit is a definitive announcement by the US Green Card holders that I do not intend to give up my Green Card. It is not the full proof for saving your Green Card but it is quite effective, if you need to go away for two years you can file for a reentry permit.  

For reentry permit, you have to be in the United States to file for it. After you file it within a few weeks you will be scheduled for Biometrics. You have two choices whether you file and leave the USA, you have to be physically present when USCIS receives your application and then you can leave and come back for the Biometrics or you can stay here, do your Biometrics and then you go. The choices for receiving your reentry permit when it is approved are either to your lawyer or to the address in the United States or to the Consulate of your home country. If you go to live in Mumbai, you could pick up your reentry permit in Mumbai Consulate. 

If you face a very bad emergency when you are in India, you can always apply for reinstatement of Green card which is called Returning Resident Permit or SB-1 Visa, that is done through the US Consulate. You go to the Consulate, explain to them in writing through the form. Everything has a Form, that shows that your stay was unintentional, they can take time and reinstate your Green Card for you. There is another Form you need to fill in, that's called Form N-470. 


4. N-470 is a highly misunderstood Form. N-470 is helpful in naturalization only to the extent that normally, if you are gone for one year you have to start naturalization five years all over again. Normally, you can apply for Naturalization five years after you get your Green Card. If you need to stay away for one year you have to start your five years all over again. By filing N-470 you prevent that re-setting your five-year clock and there are very specific rule that covers N-470 including that there must be one year during which after getting the Green Card you must not have traveled outside the USA even for one day, this is one odd little rule but keep all these things in mind. So, N-470 is usually filed in conjunction with reentry permit application.


5. No, of course not.

Monday, March 27, 2017 - 23:59

What if I never joined the employer who sponsored me for green card?


Working for the same company for 9+ years (7 yrs in the USA and since last 2 years in India Development Center for the same company). I received my GC in June 2016 and have got the physical cards delivered to me in India. Lost my father in Nov 2016. More than 9 months passed since GC - never traveled on GC so far or worked for the Sponsoring employer even for 1 day in the USA. I want to work and live in the US but for immediate time (next 1 to 2 years) I need to spend more time in India to console and support my grieving mother. My current company does not have any immediate work for me in the US. I am looking for options outside my company to come back to the USA. I am also considering an opportunity local in India.


Watch the Video on this FAQ: What if I never joined the employer who sponsored me for green card?

Video Transcript

I believe your circumstances are so unique I think what you could do is at least come to the United States as early as you can and take up that job even if it is for a few pay periods with the intention to stay in the United States as much as possible. You can also bring your mother on a tourist visa and keep extending that as well. At the very least you should come to the United States present yourself for work, whether you do it through an email or whatever method and if the company says they don't have a job right now at least you have some hook to the argument that you had presented yourself and they didn't have a job for you. I think you will be able to keep your green card safe eventually is my guess.


Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 - 06:42

Returning Resident Visas (SB-1)


What is Returning Resident Visas (SB-1)?


About Returning Resident Visas (SB-1)

A permanent resident (called lawful permanent resident or LPR) or conditional resident (CR) who has remained outside the U.S. for longer than one year, or beyond the validity period of a Re-entry Permit, will require a new immigrant visa to enter the U.S. 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 U.S. due to circumstances beyond his/her control. This webpage is about Returning Resident Visas. If you are an LPR unable to return to the U.S. within the travel validity period of the green card (1 year) or the validity of the Re-entry Permit (2 years), you may be eligible and can apply at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa.

If your application for returning resident status is approved, this eliminates the requirement that an immigrant visa petition be filed on your behalf with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You will need to be interviewed for both your application for returning resident status, and usually later for the immigrant visa. An SB-1 applicant is required to establish eligibility for an immigrant visa and have a medical examination. Therefore, this involves paying both visa processing fees and medical fees.

Spouse or Child of a Member of the U.S. Armed Forces or Civilian Employee of the U.S. Government Stationed Abroad - If you are the spouse or child of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces or of a civilian employee of the U.S. Government stationed abroad on official orders, you may use your Permanent Resident Card, Form I-551, to enter the U.S. even if it has expired. Therefore, you would not need a Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa, as long as you:

Have not abandoned your LPR status; and

Your spouse or parent is returning to the U.S.

Step 1 - Qualifying for Returning Resident Status

Under provisions of immigration law, to qualify for returning resident status, you will need to prove to the Consular Officer that you:

Had the status of a lawful permanent resident at the time of departure from the U.S.;

Departed from the U.S. with the intention of returning and have not abandoned this intention; and

Are returning to the U.S. from a temporary visit abroad and, if the stay abroad was protracted, this was caused by reasons beyond your control and for which you were not responsible.

Applying for a Returning Resident Visa

If you wish to apply for a Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa, you should contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in advance of your intended travel (at least three months in advance, if possible) to permit sufficient time for visa processing. As part of the visa application process, an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate is required. Review country-specific instructions and information by reviewing the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will apply. 

Required Documentation

When applying for a Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa, you should submit the following forms and documents to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you will apply:

A completed Application to Determine Returning Resident Status, Form DS-117

Your Permanent Resident Card, Form I-551

Your Re-entry Permit, if available

You must also submit supporting documents that show the following:

Dates of travel outside of the U.S. (Examples: airline tickets, passport stamps, etc.)

Proof of your ties to the U.S. and your intention to return (Examples: tax returns, and evidence of economic, family, and social ties to the U.S.)

Proof that your protracted stay outside of the U.S. was for reasons beyond your control (Examples: medical incapacitation, employment with a U.S. company, etc.)

A Consular Officer will review your application and supporting documents to determine whether you meet the criteria for Returning Resident (SB-1) status. If you do, you must be eligible for the immigrant visa in all other respects in order to be issued a Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa.

Required Fees

The following are the required fees:

Application for Determining Returning Resident Status, Form DS-117. Select Fees for current Department of State fees.

Additionally, if you are approved for Returning Resident (SB-1) status, the following fees will be required based on the immigrant visa processing explained below:

Form DS-230 application processing and security surcharge fees

Medical exam and vaccination fees

Step 2 – Immigrant Visa Application and Documentation

The Embassy or Consulate will provide you with specific instructions for the remainder of the processing for your Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa. While exact instructions may vary by Embassy or Consulate, these instructions will include:

Before your interview:

Instructions for your medical examination, including a list of required vaccinations

Instructions for your interview, including the following documentation to bring:

Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa Application

Original passport;

Two photographs, meeting Photograph Requirements

A list of civil documents to bring to your immigrant visa interview, as requested by the Embassy or Consulate

Review country-specific instructions and further information by reviewing the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will apply.

If Your Application to Determine Returning Resident Status is Not Approved

If, after reviewing your Application to Determine Returning Resident Status, Form DS-117, and supporting documents, the Consular Officer determines that you do not meet the criteria for a Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa on the grounds that you have abandoned or relinquished your residence in the U.S., it may or may not be possible to obtain a nonimmigrant visa depending on whether you have established a residence abroad to which you will return. If you cannot submit convincing evidence of compelling ties abroad, you may have to apply for an immigrant visa on the same basis and under the same category by which you immigrated originally.

About International Travel and Permanent Residents

As a permanent resident, before you depart the U.S. for temporary travel abroad and then seek to return to the U.S., you should review important information on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) websites. Learn about Travel Documents, including Re-Entry Permits and Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, on the USCIS website. For information for permanent residents returning to the U.S. from travel abroad, review the CBP website.

Returning Legal Permanent Residents Who Obtained Such Status Based on Asylum Status - Asylum applicants, asylees, and lawful permanent residents who obtained such status based on their asylum status are subject to special rules with regard to traveling outside the U.S. For more information on obtaining proper documentation before you depart the U.S., see Benefits and Responsibilities of Asylees on the USCIS website.

For Videos on SB-1 please visit these links:…