If you are a U.S. lawful permanent resident (LPR) stranded outside of the United States due to COVID-19, you may find the information below useful. Please note, the U.S. Embassy does not set travel policies for lawful permanent residents (LPRs). U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) retains jurisdiction over the status of LPRs and any request for official guidance should be directed to them. Unfortunately, USCIS does not have an office in Turkmenistan.
- As an LPR, how long can you stay outside of the U.S. without potentially losing residency?
Generally, you can stay outside the U.S. for up to one year. If you have been issued a Re-Entry Permit, which applicants must apply for while in the U.S., you can stay outside the United States as long as your Re-Entry Permit has not expired. Please note, per USCIS, the abandonment of residency may be found to have occurred on trips of less than a year outside of the United States if is determined you did not intend to make the U.S. your permanent residence. For further information, please see the USCIS website here.
- Can you apply for a Re-Entry Permit now that you are outside of the U.S. and cannot return?
Pursuant to USCIS policy, you cannot apply for Re-Entry Permit when you are outside of the United States. You must apply for one before you depart the United States. Also, an expired Re-Entry Permit cannot be extended.
- Will USCIS consider the current COVID-19 situation as an exceptional circumstance and allow affected LPRs presently outside of the U.S. to retain their LPR status?
There has not been an announcement or policy exception issued by USCIS regarding this issue. LPRs who have stayed outside of the United States for more than one year, or longer than the validity of their Re-Entry Permits, are generally considered to have abandoned their LPR status.
If your case falls under either of these scenarios and you wish to return to the United States, you will need to apply for an SB-1 Returning Resident visa with the Consular Section. Please see instructions here.
- What if your green card is lost or has expired?
You may apply for a Boarding Foil at the U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat. Please visit this page and refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) pertaining to LPRs.
- What about flights to the U.S. and travel restrictions?
Presently, there are no commercial international flights to or from Turkmenistan. The U.S. Embassy receives information about charter flights from other embassies and makes this information available to U.S. citizens and LPRs and may coordinate submitting names of interested travelers to the respective embassy.
Citizens of Turkmenistan who are LPRs should consider host country travel restrictions and must obtain approval from the Government of Turkmenistan in order to be on a manifest for departing charter flights. Please contact the U.S. Embassy Consular Section (firstname.lastname@example.org) for current information on how LPRs may submit a travel request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The U.S. Embassy in Turkmenistan is not responsible for any changes in flight availability or associated flight changes.
- What about senior citizen LPRs or LPRs with health conditions who do not wish to return due to the current COVID-19 situation in the U.S., but who wish to retain their LPR status?
Please refer all questions of this nature to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS retains authority to determine the status of LPRs and any request for official guidance must be directed to them. The U.S. Embassy in Turkmenistan cannot answer these questions or make a formal determination regarding a person’s LPR status. It is recommended you contact USCIS directly with these questions or review resources available on the USCIS website. Our office is unable to provide advice or guidance regarding what actions an LPR should take.
- What if you contacted USCIS and have yet to receive an answer?
It is recommend you wait for their answer, and review all the resources available on the USCIS website before taking further action. Our office is unable to provide advice or guidance regarding what actions an LPR should take. Any questions pertaining to LPR status should be directed to USCIS.