Traveling Outside of the United States as a Permanent Resident

There are many people who come to the United States to receive Permanent Resident Status. This status allows them to live and work within the country permanently. There are certain rules the individual must follow in order to keep this status. Permanent residents are allowed to travel outside of the United States with this status. It will not affect them as long as they go through the necessary process to do so. In order for a permanent resident to travel, they need a passport and their Permanent Resident Card, also called a Green Card.

Who is Eligible?

In order to apply for the appropriate documents to travel, a lawful permanent resident must be within the country for more than one year. There are two types of travel documents they must obtain: a refugee travel document and a re-entry permit.

A refugee travel document can be issued to a person that was granted refugee or asylum status. This is in addition to those who are a permanent resident with a Green Card because they were once a refugee or asylee. The requirements to receive this document include:

  • The individual had valid refugee or asylee status
  • The individual is a lawful permanent resident as a direct result of their refugee or asylee status

A re-entry permit lets a permanent resident or a conditional permanent resident apply for admission to the United States after they return from another country. This can be done without the need to obtain a returning resident visa from a United States Embassy or consulate. Requirements for this permit are as follows:

  • The individual is a lawful permanent resident or conditional permanent resident
  • The individual is physically in the United States when they file the application
  • The individual plans to be outside of the country for one year or more

How to Apply

When a permanent resident wants to apply for a refugee travel document or a re-entry permit, they are required to complete and file certain applications. They must adhere to the following process:

  • Complete the Form I-131, the Application for Travel Document
  • Submit the filing fee, amounts range depending on the age of the applicant
  • Submit evidence and documentation for the Form I-131
  • Sign and file the form at the correct filing location according to the instructions on the form

Once an application is submitted, it can be processed. During this time, the applicant receives notice that the United States Citizen and Immigration Services is reviewing the application. It is possible that they may be requested to verify their information during an interview. Once a decision is made, the individual can be notified by writing.

Contact our Firm

The Law Offices of Cheryl R. David practices immigration law throughout NYC. If you have questions about your particular matters regarding immigration please contact the office to discuss your circumstances and options.