An official website of the United States government

General Information
August 10, 2021

How Do I Guides – These guides answer questions regarding immigration benefits.

English:  https://www.uscis.gov/tools/how-do-i-guides

Chinese:  https://www.uscis.gov/tools/how-do-i-customer-guides/how-do-i-guides-customer-guides-chinese/how-do-i-guides-chinese

Lawful Permanent Residents

For general information about U.S. Permanent Residence, please visit the DHS-USCIS website at http://www.uscis.gov/greencard

A lawful permanent resident (LPR) may apply for admission to the U.S. using his/her Permanent Resident Card, provided he/she has remained outside the United States less than one year and has maintained an un-relinquished domicile in the United States.

Once an individual has entered the U.S. with an immigrant visa, he/she will be granted permanent resident status. A permanent resident card (also called a “Green Card” or “I-551”) will be mailed to the individual’s U.S. address. The card serves as a valid identification document and evidence that the individual is eligible to live and work in the United States.  Permanent residents, traveling outside of the U.S. with their passport, should be prepared to present their permanent resident card to re-enter the United States.

LPRs may live in the United States provided they do not commit any actions that would make them removable (deportable) under the immigration law.

LPRs may be employed in the United States.

LPRs are protected by the laws of the United States, the state of residence and local jurisdictions.

Permanent Resident Cards

A permanent resident card (commonly known as a “Green Card”) can only be issued or replaced in the United States.  Our office cannot provide you with a replacement.  A Green Card is required for re-entry into the U.S. as a permanent resident.  If you left your Green Card in the U.S., you should arrange for someone to send it to you.  If your Green Card has been lost, stolen or destroyed, and you have been outside of the U.S. for less than 364 days without a Permit to Reenter the U.S., you may be eligible to file a Form I-131A to request a carrier document.

Maintaining Permanent Resident Status

Permanent residents who depart and remain outside the U.S. for more than 365 contiguous days risk losing their status and might need to undergo the entire petition and immigrant visa process anew if they wish to re-enter the U.S. as permanent residents. Permanent residents who obtain re-entry permits prior to their departure from the U.S. may remain overseas for up to 2 years.

For information about maintaining your residency receiving your Green Card, see our After a Green Card is Granted page.

If you are the spouse or child of a member of the U.S. armed forces or a civilian employee of the U.S. Government stationed abroad, you may qualify for an exemption.  For more information on obtaining a returning resident visa, see the Department of State’s webpage on returning resident visas.

Expired/Expiring Green Card

The Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, is used by lawful permanent residents to apply for a replacement or the renewal of an existing Permanent Resident Card (Green Card). The application may be submitted electronically.  Please review this link for additional information: How Do I Guide.

Our office does not issue ADIT stamps.  If your card has expired and you plan to travel to the United States, please review this link I-131A.

Conditional Residents

A conditional permanent resident receives a Green Card valid for two years. The conditional permanent resident must file a petition to remove the condition during the 90 days before the card expires.

For additional information, please review this link: Conditional Residents.

Re-Entry Permit

If you plan to stay outside of the U.S. for more than one year but less than two years in duration, a re-entry permit is needed for readmission. You must be physically present in the U.S. when you file the application (Form I-131). DHS-USCIS will send the re-entry permit to the U.S. address indicated on the form. You may opt to have the re-entry permit sent to the Consulate General for pickup. We will notify you when the permit has been received and you will need to appear at the Consulate General (in person) to collect the document.  I-131 pick-up instruction.

Re-entry Permits are valid for two years from issuance and cannot be extended or revalidated.

Instructions on how to obtain or replace a Re-entry Permit are found under Form I-131, Application for a Travel Document.

Note: Generally, an applicant for a travel document must also complete biometrics capture at an Application Support Center (ASC) prior to departure from the United States. Failure to do so may cause the applicant to lose permission to reenter the country and lead to the denial of any other applications pending.

Advance Parole

If you file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, to request an advance parole document and depart the United States without possession of an advance parole document that is valid for the entire time you are abroad, your Form I-131 will be considered abandoned.

At times, an individual may have an approved advance parole document while a second one is pending. Individuals may travel on the approved advanced parole document, provided the document is valid for the entire duration of the time abroad. The pending Form I-131 will not be considered abandoned in this situation.

If you have lost or are not in possession of the unexpired Advance Parole Document that was issued to you prior to your departure from the United States, please contact the DHS-USCIS office in the U.S. that issued the document to you. DHS-USCIS Guangzhou cannot issue you a replacement.

If there are urgent humanitarian reasons please refer to humanitarian parole.

Humanitarian Programs

For information about humanitarian programs, please visit www.uscis.gov/humanitarian. 


The United States does not grant asylum in its diplomatic premises abroad.  The United States grants asylum only to individuals who are physically present in the United States.

Refugee Processing

Our office does not accept refugee resettlement applications.  If you have questions about eligibility for a referral for refugee resettlement, please contact the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) through the UNHCR website.

Humanitarian Parole

For information about humanitarian parole, and filing requirements, visit www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/humanitarian-parole

Humanitarian Parole applications may be submitted to DHS-USCIS in the United States.  We do not accept these applications in Guangzhou.


Many legal permanent residents (LPRs) of the United States have the ultimate goal of becoming American citizens. Once an LPR completes the necessary residence and physical presence requirements (which vary in certain cases), he/she can file an application for naturalization. See the DHS-USCIS website for additional details.