How do I maintain my status as a lawful resident of the United States?
A lawful permanent resident or a conditional resident of the United States will maintain status provided he/she maintains a bona fide domicile in the United States and does not remain outside the country for more than one year. A resident in possession of a re-entry permit (PDF – 1.18 mb) issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States may remain outside the United States until the date the permit expires, which is usually two years from the date of issuance.
Conditional residents of the United States who fail to file an application to have conditional resident status removed will be required to apply for a new immigrant visa based on a newly filed and approved I-130 petition.
My “green card” is lost. Can I get a new one at the Embassy?
Please note that as of October 1, 2016 the process of applying for boarding foils at the Embassy for lost or stolen I-551 “green cards” was changed. Please read carefully the new instructions.
Only offices of the Department of Homeland Security, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States can issue replacement Permanent Resident Cards. The Embassy can issue a boarding foil for a return trip to the United States. Boarding foils may only be issued to Permanent Resident Aliens who are returning to the United States after an absence of less than one year.
I have been outside the United States for longer than 12 months. How can I go back?
Persons who have been outside the United States for more than one year may be eligible for returning resident status (see below).
What can I do if my card has expired?
If your green card has expired, provided it had the full 10 years validity period and your stay outside the United States was not longer than one year, you may travel with this expired Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551). Please read this info leaflet. You may print it out and take it with you. Also available in Russian.
Can I abandon my Lawful Permanent Resident Status?
If you wish to abandon your permanent residence, please complete form I-407 (PDF – 298.4 kb), Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Residence and bring it together with your “green card” for your appointment at the Immigrant Visa Section of the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm, Monday through Friday, except for United States and Polish public holidays. To schedule an interview at the Immigrant Visa Unit please contact the Embassy by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Abandoning your permanent residence in the U.S. does not guarantee that a nonimmigrant visa will be automatically issued to you. You may file and sign the I-407 abandonment form at the Nonimmigrant Visa Section while you apply for a tourist visa.
I’m a Lawful Permanent Resident and my child was just born in Poland. How can I bring my child to the U.S.?
Your child can enter the United States without an immigrant visa or a transportation letter provided that:
the child was born during the mother’s temporary visit abroad
child’s admission to the U.S will be within two years of birth; and
either accompanying parent is applying for readmission upon first return after the birth of the child.
Please make sure before you begin the travel to the United States that you have all required documents for your child and yourself that will allow you to board the plane and then be legally admitted to the United States.
You should have:
your and your baby’s valid passports;
evidence that you are a Lawful Permanent Resident and have been outside the United States for less than one year, or less than two years if you are in possession of a valid re-entry permit;
a complete version of your child’s birth certificate (Odpis zupełny aktu urodzenia) with an English translation by a sworn translator (tłumacz przysięgły). The Polish “short form” of birth certificate is not accepted. If your last name on your child’s birth certificate is different than the one in your passport or your green card, please bring documents showing your official name change, for example a marriage certificate
What if I have been outside the U.S. for longer than 12 months?
Permanent resident aliens who are unable to return to the United States within the travel validity period of the Alien Registration Receipt Card, or the Reentry Permit, may apply to the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw for a special immigrant returning resident (SB-1) visa. To qualify for such status aliens must show that:
- they were lawful permanent residents when they departed the United States;
- when they departed they intended to return to the United States and have maintained this intent;
- they are returning from a temporary visit abroad and, if the stay was protracted, that it was caused by reasons beyond their control and for which they were not responsible; and
- they are eligible for the immigrant visa in all other respects.
Important: Conditional residents of the United States who fail to file an application to have conditional resident status removed are required to apply for a new immigrant visa. They are not eligible to apply as a returning resident.
How do I apply for a returning resident visa?
Applicants in Poland who wish to apply for returning resident (SB-1) visas must schedule their afternoon appointment at the Immigrant Visa Unit either online at http://www.ustraveldocs.com/pl/ or through the call center at +48 22 307 1361 in Poland or (703) 988 7101 in the United States. Applicants in Belarus may call a toll free number 8 820 0011 0261. Appointments are available between 1:30 and 3:00 pm Monday thru Friday, except for American and Polish public holidays.
Applicants should schedule their appointments well in advance of their intended travel (at least three months) to permit sufficient time for visa processing.
Please bring completed form DS-117 (Applications to Determine Returning Resident Status, PDF – 24.05 kb) with you when you come to apply for returning resident status.
What is the fee for processing a returning resident visa?
The fee for filing form DS-117 and determining returning resident status is USD 180.
The SB1 immigrant visa application fee, which you will be required to pay if the returning resident status is granted to you by a consular officer, is USD 205.
Both fees are payable at the Consular Section’s cashier only, in U.S. dollars or the equivalent in Polish currency at the Embassy’s exchange rate; in cash or by a credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Novus/Discover or Diners only). Checks are not accepted. Both fees are non-refundable.
Can I still receive a nonimmigrant visa if my application for a returning resident immigrant visa is denied?
If an application for returning resident visa is refused on the grounds that the alien has given up his residence in the United States, he/she may apply for a nonimmigrant visa, but must qualify for such a visa under the law. This includes the demonstration of residence abroad to which he will return and the intent to use appropriately a nonimmigrant visa. If the applicant wishes to return to the United States permanently, he/she may have to apply for an immigrant visa on the same basis by which he immigrated originally, if that is possible.
For further information on returning resident visas please check the State Department’s website.
Applicants who qualify for a visa on the basis of a marriage which was entered into less than two years prior to the date on which he/she is admitted into the United States as an immigrant will be granted conditional resident status for a two year period. Conditional resident status is also granted in fiancé(e) visa cases.
Ninety days before the two year anniversary of being granted conditional resident status, both the petitioner and conditional resident will be required to file a petition, form I-751, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to have the conditional resident status removed.
Important: Conditional residents of the United States who fail to file an application to have conditional resident status removed will be required to apply for a new immigrant visa.
Questions concerning conditional resident status should be addressed to your local USCIS office.