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Tips for International Travel as a Green Card Holder

On Behalf of | Nov 3, 2022 | Immigration Law

When most people are thinking about immigration issues, the big concern is related to how to get into and stay into the United States legally. While this makes sense of course, you also want to make sure that once you have your green card (or some type of long-term Visa) you are able to travel freely in and out of the country without putting your status at risk. Fortunately, traveling internationally (to countries other than your native country) can be done without putting your immigration status at risk in most situations.

Preparing to Leave

When planning a trip outside the country, you will need to make sure you have the necessary documents to ensure your exit and entrance from the US goes smoothly. In most situations, you will need to have your passport from your native country as well as your green card. If you are a refugee in the United States, you will need to have your refugee travel documents.

Reentering the Country

When you return to the United States, you will need to show your green card as well as another form of photo ID in most cases. If you are traveling for a period of time less than a year, this will typically be the only documents that you need. If you are going to be gone for more than a year, you will have to get a reentry permit prior to departing on your trip, which can be received by using Form I-131. These permits expire after two years, so you need to plan your travel accordingly.

Tips for International Travel

Having the right documents with you when traveling will help to ensure that you don’t run into trouble when exiting or entering the country. There are some other things that you can do to help avoid obstacles as well:

  • Take a Picture of Your Documents – Taking a picture of your immigration documents can be helpful if your physical papers are damaged or lost.
  •  Know Where the US Embassy Is – Make sure to look up the location and contact information of the US Embassy in the country(s) that you will be visiting. If you run into issues of any kind, they may be very helpful.
  • Know the Impact of Travel on Immigration – If you are still in the process of naturalization, any trip out of the country for six months or longer can impact your status. You may need to file a form N-470, Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes, to avoid issues.

Talk to an Immigration Attorney

While traveling outside the United States as an immigrant is perfectly normal and acceptable, it does come with some additional challenges. Every person’s situation is unique, so talking to an attorney is always advisable in order to avoid problems. Contact us to discuss your specific circumstances and see what you may need to do in order to avoid issues while traveling.