Guide to USCIS Form I-327

Updated on June 19, 2023
At a Glance: Form I-327, also known as a re-entry permit, is a travel document issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to lawful permanent residents. It allows them to travel abroad and return to the US. The re-entry permit serves as an international travel document and is necessary for longer trips outside the US. The application process involves filling out Form I-327 and providing supporting documents. The permit is valid for two years and must be renewed if expired. It is important for permanent residents to maintain strong ties to the US to avoid losing their status.

There are certain rules and regulations that lawfully permanent residents need to follow if they wish to leave the United States of America for extended periods. This is where knowledge of the re-entry permit can come in handy.

In this article, we will discuss everything about Form I-327 and Form I-331, both of which are re-entry permit forms.

What is Form I-327?

Form I-327, or the re-entry permit, is a travel document issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to lawful permanent residents in America. This document allows lawfully permanent residence to travel abroad and return to the country. The re-entry permit comes in a blue-green color and looks like a passport booklet. It has the words TRAVEL DOCUMENT written in bold on the front.

Individuals whose applications for permanent residency haven’t been approved can apply for advance parole instead of a re-entry permit (Form I-512). However, the USCIS has recently released a re-entry permit with a redesigned booklet cover and a combination of security features that make the permit secure from counterfeiters and other fraudulent activities.

Another reason for getting a re-entry permit is to use it as an international travel document instead of a passport. This is mainly for US permanent residents who are stateless and cannot get a passport from their country of origin. They can use the re-entry permit to substitute for places where they cannot use their original passport to travel. A permanent resident who got the resident card as a refugee or asylum seeker may apply for refugee travel documents or re-entry permits but cannot apply for both documents simultaneously.

Who Needs Form I-327?

Form I-327 is mainly required by permanent residents for re-entering into the United States of America. It is essential if the individual has stayed outside the United States for a significant period.

For shorter durations, the permanent residency card allows entry into the US. However, individuals require a re-entry permit to return to the United States of America for longer durations. The re-entry permit ensures that the resident plans on coming back to America within the stipulated time.

How to Get a Re-entry Permit?

Form I-327 is filled up when the applicant requires a re-entry permit before leaving the US.  Form I-331 (Application for a travel document) is filled up, and the applicant requires a re-entry permit and other travel documents. Both forms need to be filled when the applicant is physically present in the United States in America. In general, the application takes about 90 days to be processed and approved by USCIS. Certain applications can be expedited on a case-to-case basis.

Documents required for a re-entry permit:

  • Copy of official photo identity document
  • Proof of lawful permanent residence. This can include the following:

o   A copy of the front and back of the permanent residence card (also known as the  green card or Form I-551),

o   Copy of the biographic pages of her passport and copy of the visa page showing initial admission as a lawfully permanent resident,

o   Temporary evidence of lawful permanent status and

o   Certified translations of all documents in English

Reentry Permit Cost

The cost of the re-entry permit depends on the age of the applicant. According to the current rates published by the USCIS, these are fees for a re-entry permit cost.

AgeFiling feeBiometric servicesTotal
13 or younger$575$0$575
14 to 79$575$85$660
80 or older$575$0$575

When sending the payment, applicants must agree that they are paying for government service. The filing fee and biometric services are non-refundable regardless of the decision taken on the application. Payments can be paid via personal cheques, cashier’s cheques, money orders, or credit cards.

How Long is a Reentry Permit Valid?

A re-entry permit is often issued to permanent residents and is valid for two years from the issue date. However, the validity period can change for certain permanent residents who have spent extended periods outside the USA. This applies to conditional residents as well.

If the applicant has been outside the United States for more than four of the five years after becoming a permanent resident, they risk losing their permanent residency. Permits with a two-year validity are issued in the following cases:

  • Permanent residents traveling on the order of the US government but for purposes other than exclusion degradation removal or rescission order
  • Permanent residents who are employed by international organizations of which the United States is a member by a statute or treaty
  • Permanent residents who are professional athletes and regularly compete in events across the country and the globe

If a permanent resident spends a considerable amount of time outside the United States of America, it can lead to questions regarding their choice to live in America. Without strong roots in the US, permanent residents are at risk of losing their status.

It is important to note that the USCIS does not renew or extend re-entry permits. If a permit has expired, the applicant needs to apply for a new one. Due to security reasons, USCIS does not issue a new match to an individual who already holds a valid permit to their name. Therefore, when applying for a new permit, it is essential to send the valid permit in your possession back to the immigration authorities. There is no need to send an expired permit.

A Word of Caution — A Reentry Permit is Not a Guarantee

A re-entry permit comes with its own set of complications and conditions. It often happens that permanent residents who went abroad for less than a year are questioned about their residency plans in the United States of America. Any trips abroad lasting more than a year lead to the termination of the permanent residency automatically. Therefore if you are planning a trip abroad for longer durations of time, as a lawfully permanent resident, you must apply for a re-entry permit.

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Permanent residents who plan on spending substantial time outside the USA should consult an immigration lawyer before applying for a re-entry permit. This is because the re-entry permit can cause damage to the individuals’ green card application or lead to green card abandonment issues.

More importantly, it is worth knowing that a re-entry permit does not guarantee a green card or US citizenship. When applying for permanent residency, the green card and citizenship are different, and applicants must not confuse between them.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.