Alternatives For Those Affected By US Green Card Entry Ban

When President Trump signed the Proclamation banning entry for H1-B, L1, J1 and their dependents, he also extended the Executive Order from April 22, 2020 all the way to December 31, 2020. This Executive order banned the entry of new US green card applicants that were outside the United States from entering the country.

According to the Executive order, anyone applying for a new green card from outside the US will be prevented from doing so. This primarily includes family based green card applicants. Others impacted by this are

Alternatives For Those Affected By US Green Card Entry Ban

As more than 500,000 US green card holders are being impacted and prevented from entering the US until the end of the year, they are scrambling to figure out an alternative. If a green card holder remains outside the US for more than 364 days, in certain circumstances he would be deemed to have abandoned his green card. 

Alternatives for Green Card Holders Affected By The Executive Order

For those that do not fall under the above banned categories, the following options are worth exploring. However, you are advised to talk to a legal immigration counsel to ensure your situation is suitable for the suggested options below.

Green Card Holders Returning To The US?

Here’s a New Travel Document you need

SB-1 Returning Resident Visa

Since the Executive Order bans entry of Green card holders into the country until December 31, 2020, it is essentially applicable only to new applicants. For those that have already received their green cards, and are outside of the US, they can apply for a SB-1 immigrant returning resident.

  • Subject to all approvals, this allows them to categorize their extended stay outside as temporary. 
  • This is usually applicable to those staying outside the US for over two years.
  • The SB-1 application should have substantial evidence to show extraordinary circumstances due to which they were unable to travel to the US. These circumstances could be life/death situations, severe weather or political prohibition.
  • Moreover, due to the Covid-19 lockdown, for many existing green card holders who were stranded abroad as borders were shutdown can also be cited as a reason.
  • This SB-1 Returning Resident Visa can be applied at a US Consulate in their home country.

Re-entry Permit

  • Some green card holders may have applied for a Re-entry Permit before leaving the US. And before the Covid lockdown happened in March 2020.
  • A valid I-551 may allow the green card holder to reenter the US even while the Executive ban is in place until December 31.
  • The beneficiary should have enough documentary evidence to show that he continues to maintain ties to his life in the US and has not abandoned his green card.
  • A valid I-131, Advance Parole allows some non-immigrant visa holders to re-enter the US as well. Here’s how you can get your I-131, advance parole approved.
  • Again, the Coronavirus pandemic, if applicable is also a reason to show that return to the US had been stalled. If you are able to show enough evidence and support the reentry permit, the green card holder can be paroled into the US.


  • Some green card holders returning to the US are eligible for retaking their biometrics. In some cases, USCIS agrees to use the previous biometrics already in the system. You have to talk to your local USCIS ASC to verify if this applies to you.
  • While USCIS offices was to reopen in June, an increase in Covid cases have prevented them from rescheduling many biometrics appointments. 
  • As USCIS furloughs more than 13,000 employees, further delays should be expected.
  • Walk-in appointments are still not being accepted in most ASCs.

International Travel As a Green Card Holder

Here’s what you should know