One of the many benefits of being a green card holder or a permanent resident is the opportunity to travel abroad and return to the U.S. without having to obtain a U.S. Visa. The trip, however, must be temporary, and individuals cannot remain outside the U.S. for more than one year. Leaving the U.S. permanently or taking a trip that exceeds the one-year mark will lead to the revoking of your status as a green card holder.
If an individual plans on being absent from the United States for a year or longer, they need to first apply for a reentry permit by filing Form I-131. The reentry permit application can be completed and filed before the applicant travels outside of the United States. Obtaining the reentry permit will allow the permanent or conditional resident the ability to preserve their intentions to permanently reside in the US despite a prolonged absence.
The documents needed to travel outside of the United States include a current passport from your country of citizenship, your green card, and any additional documents required by the foreign country you are visiting. To reenter the United States, an individual needs to present their valid green card, a valid passport, and any other documents that they may have such as the Re-entry Permit.
Finally traveling abroad will affect the application for naturalization. When applying for U.S. citizenship, an applicant must show that their permanent residence is in the United States. As part of the naturalization process, an applicant must show that they have resided continuously in the U.S. for five years or three years if they are a qualified spouse of a U.S. citizen and have been physically present in the U.S. for a certain amount of time.
This article is provided only for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. If you require legal advice, please contact our office.