Immigrant Visas: Returning Resident Visa (Green Cards/LPRs)

You can replace or renew an expired Permanent Resident “green” card by filing an I-90.  This is done directly with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and does not involve the U.S. Embassy.  Please note that while the initial process is done online, you must submit fingerprints when you are in the U.S. to complete the process.  While this is in process, you should be able to travel back to the United States on an expired green card that had a 10-year validity period.  However, if the airline will not board you with an expired card, or your card is lost/stolen, you will need to apply for a boarding foil – see immediately below.

If your Green Card has been lost/stolen and you need to travel to the United States, the Embassy may be able to issue a Boarding Foil.

  • If you have an expired permanent resident card with a 10-year validity period, you do not need a transportation letter/boarding foil. The airline may board you with the expired card, providing you meet all their other conditions for travel.
  • Boarding Foils may be issued only to Permanent Resident Aliens who are returning to the United States after an absence of less than one year; if not, see section further below.

Please contact the Embassy via email, providing:

  • alien registration number
  • complete name
  • date and place of birth
  • a scanned copy of pages 1-5 of the completed form I-131A
  • electronic receipt of your on-line payment of the 1-131A fee.  The fee of $575.00 must be paid online prior to your appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Ljubljana. There is no other method of payment.  Click here to pay online: https://public-prod-elis2.uscis.dhs.gov/efile/app/app/travel/#!/.  Be sure to read the instructions before you apply, as the fee is non-refundable.

Once you have sent the above we will schedule an appointment at the Embassy.

At your appointment, bring:

  • your valid passport
  • Form 1-131A, along with payment receipt fee
  • One passport photo – 2”×2” (5×5 cm) against a white background and without glasses.  There are several photo studios close to the Embassy that are familiar with our passport photo requirements.
  • a copy of your departure record from the United States
  • a copy of your return flight reservation
  • a copy of the police report for your lost or stolen Green Card, if applicable
  • Padded A5, self-addressed envelope (podložena kuverta) with 1.67€ in postage so that we can return your passport to you at your residence or a Slovenian post office. Please note that we do not mail passports outside Slovenia.

Boarding foils are issued within 1-2 working days, provided you come with all the required documents and have paid the filing fee in advance.

You should not leave the United States again until you have applied for and received your new card. You can apply for your replacement card electronically now through the USCIS website.

A permanent resident (called lawful permanent resident or LPR) or conditional resident (CR) who has remained outside the United States for longer than one year, or beyond the validity period of a Re-entry Permit, will require a new immigrant visa to enter the United States and resume permanent residence. A provision exists under U.S. visa law for the issuance of a returning resident special immigrant (SB-1) visa to an LPR who remained outside the United States due to circumstances beyond his/her control. If you are an LPR unable to return to the United States 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 U.S. Embassy for a Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa.

If your application for returning resident status is approved, this eliminates the requirement that a new 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 separately 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.

If you wish to apply for a Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa, you should contact the Embassy via email in advance of your intended travel to permit sufficient time for visa processing. As part of the visa application process, an interview at the U.S. Embassy is required.

Step 1 – Qualifying for Returning Resident Status

At the time of the interview, provide the following:

  • A completed Application to Determine Returning Resident Status, Form DS-117
  • Your Permanent Resident Card, Form I-551
  • Your Re-entry Permit, if available
  • Returning Resident Determination fee of $180, payable in cash in U.S. dollars or euro equivalent.

You must also submit supporting documents that show the following:

  • Dates of travel outside of the United States (Examples: airline tickets, passport stamps, etc.)
  • Proof of your ties to the United States and your intention to return (Examples: tax returns, and evidence of economic, family, and social ties to the United States)
  • Proof that your protracted stay outside of the United States 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.

Step 2 – Immigrant Visa Application and Documentation

If your above application was approved, you will have a second interview for the immigrant visa.

Before your 2nd interview:

  • Complete Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application. The Embassy will provide you your immigrant visa case number that you will need to begin the DS-260 application.
  • Once you have completed the DS-260, contact the Embassy Panel’s Physician to schedule a medical exam.  You should provide the medical office with you DS-260 confirmation page number.  Note that standard medical exam fees apply.

At your 2nd interview, bring:

  • Original passport;
  • One passport photo – 2”×2” (5×5 cm) against a white background and without glasses.  There are several photo studios close to the Embassy that are familiar with our passport photo requirements.
  • Original birth and marriage certificates
  • Police certificates for any countries you have lived in for more than 6 months after departing the United States. (See Slovenian Police certificates.)
  • Immigrant visa fee of $205, payable in cash in U.S. dollars or euro equivalent.
  • Padded A5, self-addressed envelope (podložena kuverta) with 1.67€ in postage so that we can return your passport to you at your residence or a Slovenian post office. Please note that we do not mail passports outside Slovenia.

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 United States, 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.

Individuals who wish to voluntarily record abandonment of their lawful permanent resident (LPR) status must submit Form I-407 “Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status” directly with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in the United States.

In very rare circumstances, a U.S. embassy may allow an individual to submit a Form I-407 in person if he/she needs immediate proof that he/she has abandoned LPR status. The most common need for an expedited application is to apply for a diplomat (A or G) visa. Individuals may also submit Form I-407 to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer at a U.S. port of entry.