|Lawful permanent residents (green card holders) who intend to remain outside of the United States for more than one year should apply for a re-entry permit prior to leaving the United States in order to preserve their permanent resident status. Although the re-entry permit does not guarantee that an individual will be re-admitted to the United States, it does nevertheless assist with re-entry in most cases.
The application must be submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and approved prior to departure from the United States. Once approved, the re-entry permit is generally valid for two years. It may be extended for a second two-year period once the individual returns to the United States at the end of the first two-year period. Following the end of the four years, it may be extended in one-year increments for good cause.