One of the advantages of securing a US green card is that it allows you to travel more freely in and out of the US. US green card holders can more easily visit friends and family abroad and travel throughout the world when compared with US residents who are living in the US on non-immigrant visas. However, when traveling abroad as a green card holder, there are a number of important considerations to keep in mind.
For example, if you wish to travel outside the United States as a permanent resident, you will generally need to have a passport from your native country or you may need a refugee travel document in order to travel outside of the United States. The country you are traveling to may also have additional requirements for entry or exit. For example, you may also need to secure a visa for the country that you are visiting. The Department of State’s website (www.travel.state.gov) has additional useful information about exit and entry requirements for specific countries. It is a good idea to visit this website before making your travel plans.
Once you leave the United States and wish to re-enter the US, you will need to present a valid green card as well as your passport at a port of entry. This means that before traveling, you need to make sure that your green card will still be valid when you return home. When you attempt to re-enter the United States, an authority from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office will review your documentation to determine whether you are eligible for re-entry into the United States.
One additional thing to keep in mind is that extended travel outside the United States could potentially affect your green card status. You are free to travel outside the United States as a US green card holder, and while brief and temporary travel outside the United States will not usually affect your green card status, extended stays outside of the country could potentially affect your status. When you leave the US for an extended period of time, it may appear to immigration authorities that you do not wish to make the US your permanent home. If this is the case, you will be considered to have abandoned your green card status. In general, this is an issue if you are absent from the United States for more than 12 months. When traveling outside the United States as a green card holder, therefore, is a good idea not to travel for extended periods of time. It is also important to maintain United States community ties, family ties, US employment, and a US home. You must also file your US income taxes as a US resident. In general, you wish to establish that you intend to return to live permanently in the United States. Maintaining a US mailing account, keeping US bank accounts, and otherwise maintaining your ties to the United States are important in order to ensure that you are allowed re-entry into the United States.
If you are a green card holder and wish to travel outside of the United States for longer than a year, it is important to maintain documentation that shows that you intend to make the United States your permanent home. If you plan on traveling for an extended period of time outside the United States, is also good idea to apply for a re-entry permit by filing form I-131. While this form does not guarantee re-entry into the United States, it does allow you to apply for re-entry into the United States without obtaining a returning resident visa from a Consulate or US Embassy. It also helps you show authorities that you intend to live permanently in the United States.