If you’re a lawful permanent resident of the United States and hold a green card, it’s perfectly legal for you to travel outside of this country. You’ll need to bring your passport from your country of citizenship though. Your proof of permanent residency in the United States along isn’t going to be sufficient. Any other countries that you’ll be traveling to won’t allow you to enter only on a green card. Even U.S. citizens must show a valid U.S. passport.
When You Have Yet to Receive Your Green Card
When your green card has been approved, but you have yet to receive it and need to travel outside of the country, you can still travel. Your problem will be returning to the United States. In order to enter again, you’ll need an I-551 stamp on your passport. It only evidences permanent residency in the U.S. for one year though. You’ll also want to have your receipt from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services showing that you made a timely filing of an I-751 application for removal of conditions of residence and waiting for a decision.
When You’re in the Process of Applying for Permanent Residency
If you’re legally in the United States and your application for a green card is being processed, you’ll need what’s known as Advance Parole document to travel outside of this country and return legally. Without this document, your application for a green card will be cancelled. If you’re in the U.S. on an employment visa, you may have already been given advance parole. If so, you’ll find a notation of that on your work permit. If there is no such notation, you’ll need to file a Form I-131 for purposes of re-entry.
Lost or Stolen Green Cards
Should you lose your green card or be the victim of a theft of it while outside of the United States, you’ll need to contact a nearby consulate or the U.S. Embassy and request an I-131A Transportation Letter for travel back to the United States. It’s highly likely that a personal interview will be required, so bring copies of and all evidence of permanent residency with you.
Trips outside of the United States for longer than six months can cause re-entry complications or denials. You don’t want to be accused of abandoning your permanent residency. Make sure that all necessary documents are in order before you leave the United States, and be sure to bring your passport from your country of residency with you. Although your green card might be sufficient to have you re-enter the United States, that card alone is highly unlikely to get you to your destination, even if your country of origin. If you have question about travel from the United States as a permanent resident, contact us here at Maison Law Immigration Lawyers ahead of your intended travel date for a consultation. As you’ve come this far, we want to see you travel and return without any problems.
Contact a California Immigration Lawyer Today
If you or a family member need assistance in obtaining a permanent residency in the United States, speak with a Central Valley immigration attorney at Maison Law Immigration Lawyers. We know what needs to be done to effectively help you. We’re committed to helping every person who intends on becoming a permanent resident of the United States in obtaining the professional legal assistance that they deserve. It’s people like you who built this country, and your family members can continue build it even better.
Learn more about green cards – Click here.