Maintaining Permanent Resident Status

Permanent residents who depart and remain outside the U.S. for more than 365 contiguous days risk losing their status and might need to undergo the entire petition and immigrant visa process anew if they wish to re-enter the U.S. as permanent residents. Permanent residents who obtain re-entry permits from USCIS prior to their departure from the U.S. may remain overseas for up to 2 years. Permanent residents who fail to file income tax returns while living outside the U.S. or who declare themselves as “non-immigrants” on tax returns may also lose their status.

Expired/Expiring green card

Permanent residents whose I-551 has expired or will expire within the next six months may renew their cards by filing Form I-90. A Form I-90 can be downloaded from the USCIS website. If you are outside the United States and your permanent resident card will expire within six months, (but you will be returning to the U.S. within one year of your departure and before the card expires), Form I-90 should be filed as soon as you return to the United States. If you are outside of the United States at the time of the card’s expiration but maintain status (i.e. visited the U.S. within the past 364 days) and have not applied for the renewal card prior to your departure, please contact the U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong (Address: 26 Garden Road, Central) with public hours on Tuesdays from 2 – 4 pm. While you can only apply for a green card while in the United States, the Consulate may be able to assist with a boarding foil if one is required by your airline. Kindly send us an email using the Visa Inquiry Form if you need urgent assistance outside of our public hours.

Re-Entry Permit

If you plan to stay outside of the U.S. for more than one year but less than two years in duration, a re-entry permit is needed for readmission. You must be physically present in the U.S. when you file the application (Form I-131). USCIS will send the re-entry permit to the address indicated on the form. You may opt to have the re-entry permit sent to the Consulate General for pickup. We will notify you when the permit has been received and you will need to appear at the Consulate General (in person) to collect the document on Tuesdays only (except U.S. and local holidays), from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. No appointment is required. Departure from the U.S. before a decision is made on a re-entry permit application does not affect the application. Please see the USCIS website for further details. To check the status of your re-entry permit application with USCIS, see My Case Status.


Last modified: April 1, 2022