How to travel for green card holders: terms and conditions for returning to the USA - ForumDaily
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How to travel for green card holders: terms and conditions for returning to the USA

As a lawful permanent resident of the United States, your obligations to maintain immigration status are fairly simple. You must notify the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within 10 days of moving and renew your green card every 10 years. But international green card travel may pose some new dangers. The edition told in more detail Citizen path.

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Permanent residents are free to travel outside the United States, and temporary travel generally does not affect your permanent resident status. As the term "resident" implies, your status is associated with the expectation that you will live in the United States. If you start spending too much time abroad, you may lose your green card eligibility.

Before traveling outside the US, it is important to understand that there are certain risks involved. Learn how your absence affects your US immigration status and how to deal with problems as they arise. Here are five tips to understand before traveling abroad.

Keep track of basic green card maintenance

Permanent residents may be denied entry into the United States if they do not have a valid proof of status that has not expired. This happens every day. If you attempt to re-enter the United States after an international green card trip, you will be required to present a valid, unexpired green card at the port of entry.

A US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer will check your card and any other identification documents you provide (such as a passport, foreign national ID, or US driver's license).

Unfortunately, many permanent residents forget or neglect to keep their permanent resident cards. The simplest mistake is to forget to renew the green card. Most green cards need to be renewed every 10 years. If your green card needs to be renewed or replaced, use Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. Plan ahead - I-90 processing times can be long.

On the subject: USCIS redesigned green cards and work permits

Some green cards do not expire. Since these cards were typically released in the 1970s, older cards can create another problem. Photos or damaged cards can make it difficult for a CBP employee to work.

Please be aware that re-entry at a US port of entry is at the discretion of the CBP officer. If the officer cannot read the card because it is damaged or the photo is so old that you cannot be recognized, there is a possibility of denied entry. You are responsible for ensuring that the map is legible and accurate.

In the event that you are allowed to re-enter the US with an expired green card (if the trip lasted less than one year), the officer may require you to pay a re-entry fee in addition to the green card renewal fee. This can be very costly. What's more, it will result in significant delay and potentially other legal issues.

Understanding permanent residence

As a permanent resident of the United States, you are free to travel abroad. However, any trip longer than six months is expected to violate the US permanent residency requirement. If you plan to naturalize as a US citizen, Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, requires you to document your international green card travel for the previous five years. Any absence from the United States of six months or more will create a problem.

Absence may disrupt your permanent residence. Continuous residence means that the green card holder actually resided in the United States and settled there. For many people, life in the United States includes work and networking with the community.

USCIS assumes that you have violated this requirement if you have trips of six months or more. One simple solution to prevent this problem is to reduce your trip to less than six months. But remember that international flight delays can extend your trip by another week.

Avoid denial of permanent resident status

Traveling abroad as a permanent resident for a period of one year or more will result in a breach of continuous residence. More importantly, you are potentially at risk of losing your permanent resident status.

Long trips put you under more scrutiny. When re-entering the US, a CBP officer will most likely interview you. If the officer determines that you did not intend to make the US your permanent home, that officer may decide that you have renounced your permanent resident status.

Factors that will help you refute this conclusion include evidence that you:

  • own a home or have a long-term lease in the United States;
  • continue to support employment in the United States;
  • file your US tax returns;
  • have family and community connections in the United States.

If you need to travel abroad for a period of at least one year but not more than two years, it is highly recommended to obtain a re-entry permit. In addition to serving as a valid document for re-entry after a long absence, a re-entry permit indicates your intention to return. You can apply for a re-entry permit by completing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document.

How to find a lost or stolen green card abroad

In some cases, you may have made all the necessary arrangements but found that you do not have a green card for re-entry. Every year, hundreds of travelers lose their green cards.

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If you lost your green card outside of the United States, you will need to obtain a special landing card in order to re-enter the United States. File Form I-131 in person at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. When you return to the US, you must replace your lost or stolen green card by completing Form I-90.

Stay Out of Trouble - Apply for US Citizenship

One of the great benefits of US citizenship is the ability to travel with a US passport. What's more, you won't have to worry about green card travel or re-entry permits.

It's probably cheaper than you think. In the long run, USCIS registration fees for naturalization are much cheaper than those for retaining permanent resident status. And if you add the costs of replacing a lost, stolen or damaged green card, or legal costs associated with protecting permanent resident status. It is generally more beneficial to become a US citizen.

And remember, if a CBP officer denied you re-entry, you are not required to accept the officer's decision as final. You have the right to present your case in immigration court. Only an immigration judge has the final say on whether you have renounced your status. If you find yourself in the process of being deported, contact an experienced immigration attorney immediately.

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