Our office serves many first-time and returning reentry permit applicants and our clients and readers often want to know the options for extending (technically, obtaining a new) reentry permit if their circumstances require continued stay outside of the United States. We have addressed the renewal options and strategies in earlier articles; however, an additional follow-up concern we often hear is whether (and how) should the current reentry permit document be surrendered when applying for a renewal reentry permit.
Does Reentry Permit Renewal Application Require Surrendering of the Current Reentry Permit Document?
The answer depends on when the renewal reentry permit application is being filed, when the biometrics are completed and, ultimately, when USCIS is about to review and, hopefully, approve the renewal reentry permit application. Pursuant to the relevant regulations, a reentry permit application cannot be approved if the applicant already has been issued a reentry permit and the current reentry permit is valid (not expired and the document is not lost/destroyed). In this situation, USCIS will expect the current and valid document to be surrendered before the renewal application can be approved — often, at the time of adjudication, USCIS would issue a request for evidence (RFE) and ask for the current valid reentry permit document to be surrendered before the new application can be approved.
At the same time, if the current reentry permit has already expired at the time a renewal reentry permit application is being adjudicated, USCIS will not normally require the current (and expired) reentry permit to be surrendered as part of a renewal reentry permit application.
Timing Strategies for Surrendering Existing Reentry Permit When Filing for Renewal
With these rules and normal practices in mind, the question is, What is the best strategy for surrendering a reentry permit when filing for a renewal? Needless to say, each case is different and this article does not substitute the advice and assistance of an attorney. With this in mind and based on our extensive daily experience with reentry permits, we have found that often it makes most sense to file a renewal application (see our recommended timing strategies) without surrendering the current valid reentry permit as part of the initial application.
Not surrendering the existing valid reentry permit document with the renewal application allows the reentry permit holder to continue use the current reentry permit for any additional travels into the United States for the duration of the renewal process. Afterwards, once the required reentry permit process biometrics are completed and when USCIS adjudicator takes on the case for review and approval, if the existing reentry permit continues to remain valid, USCIS will issue an RFE (sent to the attorney of record and applicant’s address) and ask for the existing reentry permit to be surrendered.
At that time, having this (relative) piece of mind that the reentry permit renewal process is going well, the reentry permit applicant can surrender the reentry permit and expect to receive the renewal within a short time.
The reentry permit renewal process has several very important considerations and strategies. But based on the rationale described in this article and our experience handling hundreds of reentry permits every year, it often makes most sense to wait and surrender the reentry permit only at the final stages of adjudication of the renewal application. This approach has worked well for many clients in retaining the reentry permit benefits during the document’s validity term and obtaining a new document with the longest possible term.
Our office has a special reentry permit division where we handle reentry permits on a daily basis for a variety of green card applicant situations and we will be delighted to discuss and, possibly, help throughout the application process. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or comments or complete the case evaluation and quote form if we can be of any assistance with this or related immigration-related issues. We invite you to subscribe to our free weekly immigration newsletter to receive timely updates on this and related topics.