U.S. immigration law assumes that beneficiaries of immigrant visas will live permanently in the United States. Immigrants who depart the United States with the intention of returning and have not abandoned that intention, but have stayed out of the United States for more than twelve months due to circumstances beyond their control, require a new immigrant visa to return to live in the United States. If you have lapsed immigrant status, you may be eligible for status as a returning resident. Otherwise you will have to seek to be the beneficiary of a new immigrant visa petition.
There are three steps involved in applying for a returning resident visa (SB-1 visa).
- Step 1: Submission of DS-117 Interview Appointment Request
To apply for status as a returning resident alien, you must submit form DS-117 with supporting documents to the Immigrant Visa Unit of the U.S. Embassy, Seoul. To schedule your appointment, please submit a request on the U.S. Embassy website. You can download the form DS-117 (PDF 57KB) and the DS-117 filing instructions. Please include any USCIS documents or cards, along with evidence of your continuing U.S. ties (e.g. tax returns, financial documents, insurance papers, deeds, wills, club memberships, etc.), your intent to return to an unrelinquished residence in the United States, and evidence of the reasons beyond your control for your protracted stay outside of the United States.
- Step 2: DS-117 Interview
The consular officer will conduct an interview to determine whether you meet the criteria for Returning Resident status (SB-1) based on your DS-117 and supporting documents.
- Step 3: SB-1 Visa Interview
If your DS-117 application is approved, you will be processed as all other IV applicants. You will receive the Instruction Package with a list of the documents the intending immigrant must present at the immigrant visa interview. Your SB-1 visa interview will be scheduled by the Immigrant Visa Unit. You must bring the forms and documents listed in the Instruction Package to the visa interview. At the interview, you will also need to pay for the immigrant visa application processing fee, which is the separate fee from the DS-117 application fee that you have already paid. You can learn more about the Immigrant Visa Application Processing Fee at visas.state.gov.
You can learn more about the Returning Resident (SB-1) Visa on www.ustraveldocs.com/kr.