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Form DS-117

Hey there! As an immigration attorney, I often encounter clients who have unintentionally abandoned their green cards. It's more common than you might think! If you've found yourself in this situation, you might need Form DS-117, also known as the "Application to Determine Returning Resident Status." This form is your lifeline to reclaiming your status as a lawful permanent resident (LPR) if you've been outside the U.S. for an extended period and circumstances beyond your control prevented your timely return. Essentially, it's a way to prove to the U.S. government that you didn't intend to give up your green card and you deserve to get back your resident status.

What is the DS-117 Form?

Form DS-117 is the "Application to Determine Returning Resident Status." It's used by green card holders who have been outside the United States for more than a year (or beyond the validity of their re-entry permit) and need to re-establish their status as a lawful permanent resident. This form helps you demonstrate to the U.S. consulate that your prolonged absence was due to circumstances beyond your control and that you intended to return to the U.S.

How Much is the Fee for DS-117?

The fee for filing Form DS-117 is $180. This fee is non-refundable and must be paid at the time of submitting your application to the U.S. consulate or embassy handling your case.

Can You Travel to the US After Abandoning Your Green Card?

If you've abandoned your green card, you generally cannot simply travel back to the U.S. as a permanent resident. However, if you can prove that your extended stay abroad was due to uncontrollable circumstances, you may apply for returning resident status using Form DS-117. If approved, you will be able to resume your status as a lawful permanent resident.

What is a Good Reason for a Re-entry Permit?

A good reason for a re-entry permit includes situations like extended overseas employment, caring for a sick relative abroad, or educational opportunities that require you to be out of the country for an extended period. Essentially, any compelling reason that justifies your prolonged absence while demonstrating your intent to return to the U.S. can be a good reason for obtaining a re-entry permit.

How Long Can You Stay Out of the Country with a Green Card?

As a green card holder, you can stay outside the U.S. for up to one year without affecting your status. If you need to stay longer, it's advisable to apply for a re-entry permit, which allows you to remain abroad for up to two years. However, prolonged or repeated absences may raise questions about your intent to maintain permanent residency, so it's crucial to plan accordingly.

How Much is the Reentry Permit Fee?

The fee for a re-entry permit (Form I-131) is $575. Additionally, if you are between the ages of 14 and 79, you must also pay an $85 biometrics fee, bringing the total cost to $660.

How Much is the Fee for Citizenship in 2024?

The fee for applying for U.S. citizenship (Form N-400) in 2024 is $725. This includes a $640 application fee and an $85 biometrics fee. There are some exemptions and fee reductions available for certain applicants based on age, military service, or financial hardship.

Is Visa 117 Permanent Residency?

Form DS-117 itself is not a visa but an application to determine your returning resident status. If approved, it allows you to resume your permanent residency status after a prolonged absence. This means you can regain your green card without starting the entire immigration process over again.

How Much Bank Balance is Required for a US Visa?

The amount of bank balance required for a U.S. visa can vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for. For tourist visas (B-2), it's essential to show sufficient funds to cover your stay in the U.S., typically ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 or more, depending on the length of your stay. For other visas, such as student or employment visas, the requirements may differ and depend on additional factors like tuition fees, living expenses, and salary offers.

If you have more questions about these forms or need assistance with your immigration process, feel free to contact us. We're here to help you navigate it!

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