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Returning Resident Visa
Filing an Immigrant Visa Petition DS-117

Step 1 – Filing an Immigrant Visa Petition DS-117
If you wish to apply for a Returning Resident (SB-1) immigrant visa, you should contact the U.S. Embassy Tokyo or Consulate General Naha in advance of your intended travel (at least three months in advance, if possible) to permit sufficient time for visa processing. As part of the visa application process, an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate is required. Please complete the Interview Request Form to request an appointment. Due to security concerns and space constraints, only those with appointments will be admitted.  If you have been outside the United States for less than a year, you do not need an SB-1 returning resident visa; you may travel on your I-551 Green Card.

Required Documentation

Applicants must appear in person to file a DS-117 and pay the application fee. Do not schedule an appointment until you have read the instructions carefully.

DS-117 Checklist of Necessary Supporting Documents

Important Notices

  • English translations of all foreign language documents are required. Any foreign language document must be accompanied by a full English translation that the translator has certified as complete and correct. The translator must certify that he/she is competent to translate the foreign language into English. It is not necessary to have the translation notarized.
  • If you wish to retain an original document, you must bring a photocopy with the original. We will return the original to you after the interview by request.

Print out the checklist below and prepare the documents in order. Check the boxes pertaining to your case. On the day of the interview, submit the checked list on top of the gathered documents.

Form I-551 (Original green card) and/or Form I-327 (Original re-entry permit), if available

Passport(s): Current and/or old passport(s) showing your identity, admission into the United States as a legal permanent resident, and the Japanese immigration stamp on your return to Japan from the U.S.

Form DS-117: Completed application to determine Returning Resident Status.

Proof of ties to the U.S. and intent to return: U.S. tax returns and evidence of economic, family, and social ties to the United States.

Evidence of stay abroad for reasons beyond the applicant’s control: Evidence that the protracted stay abroad was beyond your control.

Fee: The Application Fee should be paid at the Embassy/Consulate cashier in yen or U.S. dollars on the day of your interview. You may pay by cash, or credit card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, Diner’s Club, and JCB).


  1. Be prepared to pay with cash in case the credit card verification system is temporarily unavailable.
  2. Payment by credit card is billed in U.S. dollars.
  3. DO NOT pay the fee through the Non-Immigrant visa Web site. Application fees paid for the wrong visa category will not be accepted and cannot be refunded.
  4. This fee is non-refundable, regardless of any action taken on your petition.


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