Complete Guide to Form DS-177 in the U.S.

Posted by Frank Gogol

Back in 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security admitted 1.1 million permanent residents to the United States. So, there are quite a lot of people becoming permanent residents of the country. However, what happens when you’re a permanent resident alien, yet you’re unable to return to the States due to specific reasons that are out of your control? What form could you use to reenter the United States? Read all about it in this article.

What Is Form DS-117?

Form DS-117, known as the application for Returning Resident (SB1) visa, is a form that you can complete and submit when specific reasons don’t allow you to come back to the States. The reasons could be beyond your control within your Green Card’s travel validity period, or your Reentry Permit’s travel validity.

For instance, the green card has a travel validity of 1 year, whereas the re-entry permit has a validity period of 2 years. If you were outside the States for longer than this period, then you need to apply for an SB-1 visa.

And in order to apply for the SB-1 visa, you need to use this form.

Who Needs Form DS-117?

There are specific cases when someone would need a DS-117 to obtain an SB-1 visa. For instance, people who were lawful permanent residents when they departed the United States would be eligible for this form if they ended up staying outside the country for a very long period.

You will also be eligible if you were abroad for a temporary visit, yet the stay was protracted for reasons that are out of your control/that you were not responsible for. Additionally, you should have the intent to return to the United States and maintain this intent while abroad. Lastly, you should also be eligible for the immigrant visa in every other aspect.

Documents Required for Form DS-117?

If you are eligible for Form DS-117 and are planning to submit one, there are some documents that you need to bring to the U.S. Embassy the day you have your appointment.

If you don’t know what to bring yet, here is a list of the documents you should have in your possession:

  • A completed Form DS-117
  • A passport that is still valid
  • Your permanent resident card Form I-551
  • Proof that you have ties to the United States and have the intention to return (it could include evidence of economic, social or family ties, tax returns, and others)
  • Dates of travel outside the United States of America (could include passport stamps, airline tickets, and many others)
  • Some evidence that the protracted stay outside the States happened for reasons that were out of your control (proof could include employment with a company from the U.S., medical incapacitation and others)

How to Complete Form DS-117?

Form DS-117 has three pages, and you will have to complete two of them. Luckily, it’s not that difficult to complete the DS-117, especially if you get some guidance on how to do it.

On the first page, you will have to bring some personal information. For instance, you will have to write your family, first and middle name, as well as other potential names that you use. Afterward, you will be asked for your place of birth – what country, province, and city you were born in – and your date of birth. Another thing you will have to write is a current, available telephone number, and the address you’re currently living at.

Details about your marital status will be required as well. You will have to say whether you are married, divorced, widowed, or single (never married). If you’re married, you will have to proceed with some information about the spouse. For instance, their name, place, and date of birth, address, date of marriage, and potential U.S. residence status will have to be written.

If you have any close family members in the United States, you will have a section where you can write their full names, relationship, place of residence, and resident status. If you don’t have enough space to list all of them, you can continue on a separate page.

Then, information about the previous immigration record will be required. Your immigration category, as well as DHS “A” number will have to be provided. For the previous immigrant visa, you will have to write about the date and place of issue. If you had any adjustment of status, the date and place should be provided as well. The same goes when it comes to the initial entry and last entry into the U.S. as a Lawful Permanent Resident.

The next section will require the last date of departure from the U.S., destination, and the reason behind it. Then, you’ll be asked to write about any continued ties maintained with the U.S., and your efforts to avoid abandoning the permanent resident status. Not to mention that you should write about your reasons for not returning to the U.S. until the time of the application.

You will then have to list the periods that you have lived outside of the States for six months or more since you were first admitted to the U.S. as a permanent resident. The next section will ask whether you were employed outside the U.S. since the last departure, and if you were, you have a table to fill in. It will ask for the name and address of the employer, as well as the period you worked there.

You’ll be asked when you want to return to the U.S., and then, you will be asked to write your name and date if you swear all the information provided is true.

Where to Submit Form DS-117

In order to apply for reentering the United States, you will have to submit Form DS-117 at the U.S. Embassy in your own country. Make sure to look up where it’s located in your country and you will have to go submit the paper.

Form DS-117 Cost

Form DS-117 is not that expensive. You will have to deal with a filing fee of $180, which you can either pay in cash or by credit card. Keep in mind that the amount you pay in cash needs to be either in U.S. dollars or the equivalent of PLN, and the credit card can be used by EU citizens.

Then, if the application is approved, you will receive some information from the Consular Section on how to proceed with the immigrant visa application. For an immigrant visa, you will have to be interviewed again, and you will have to pay $205 for it.

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Form DS-117 will help you get back to the United States if you are a permanent resident who was outside of the States for a very long period, for reasons beyond your control. You just need to pay a fee and have the required documentation, and you should be able to apply with no issues.If your application is accepted, then there will be no need for an immigrant visa petition filed on your behalf with the DHS, USCIS. Make sure to get all your documents and complete the application carefully, and you may receive your Resident Return Visa. Don’t forget to check out Stilt for more immigration information.

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