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International Travel as a Permanent Resident

Are you a lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder) in the United States? If you plan to travel abroad, special rules apply. “Will I need a U.S. passport?” Generally speaking, you will need to use a passport from your home country, the country where you are a citizen. If you are a refugee, you will need to present your refugee travel document if you wish to travel to outside the U.S.

Re-Entering the United States

If you plan to travel abroad temporarily; for example, for work or for a vacation, you will need specific documents to re-enter the United States as a permanent resident. You will need the following:

  • The passport from your country,
  • Your valid and unexpired Green Card,
  • A foreign national ID card, or
  • A valid U.S. driver license.

Can Travelling Abroad Affect My Green Card Status?

The United States does not stop Green Card holders from travelling outside the United States. If you decide to travel outside the U.S. briefly, that will not affect your permanent resident status. However, if the USCIS learns that you did not intend to make the U.S. your permanent home, it will find that you abandoned your status as a permanent resident.

“But how long is too long?” As a general rule, if you leave the U.S. for more than 12 months, you’re considered to have abandoned your Green Card status. If there is question about how long you left the United States and whether you abandoned your permanent resident status, the USCIS will want to know:

  • Did you intend to make the U.S. your permanent home?
  • Do you have family in the U.S.?
  • Did you maintain employment in the U.S.?
  • Did you file U.S. income taxes as a resident?
  • Did you maintain a U.S. mailing address?
  • Did you keep U.S. bank accounts?
  • Did you keep a valid U.S. driver license?
  • Did you own property in the U.S.?
  • Did you own a business in the U.S.?

Is there any question about your permanent resident status after taking a long trip abroad? Or, are you a Green Card holder who wishes to travel outside the U.S.? Either way, the Plano immigration lawyers at The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC can help you with all of your immigration needs. Contact us to get started.