Alan Lee, Esq. Q&As published on the World Journal Weekly on December 3, 2023 : Re-entry Permit

A reader asks:
I handed in my re-entry permit at the end of December last year. On January 23 this year, I received a notice that the finger print was taken, which means that the fingerprints recorded before can be reused, and there is no need to print them. At present, I am considering returning to China for a year, and I have already returned to China, and I am applying for a reentry permit at the same time. However, the case has been stuck here. According to the USCIS website, the current reentry permit takes 17 months. I wonder if it really takes this long? If I still can’t get down, do I have to return to the United States?

Alan Lee, Esq answers,
Although the official USCIS published processing time for 80% of reentry permits is currently 17.5 months, that does not mean that your application will pend for that long. In looking at our recent past cases, we have had reentry permits approved taking as long as 19 months and as short as 9 months. The permanent resident card (green card) only allows the holder to be outside the United States at maximum 364 days. If you have not received the reentry permit, we strongly advise you to return to the States within the time permitted on the green card. If you stay outside the one-year limit, you would essentially be relying on the reentry permit being approved and shipped to you overseas for your entry back to the States after one year. A problem with approval or your residence receiving it in the US or with shipping it to you overseas could endanger you permanent resident status.