Can I Travel Outside the United States as a Permanent Resident?

Many people come to the United States and receive Permanent Resident Status, allowing them to live and work within the country permanently. In order to maintain this status, one must follow certain rules. While many people think that individuals with permanent residency cannot leave the country, this is not true. In fact, permanent residents are allowed to travel outside of the United States without it impacting their status. However, they are required to go through the necessary channels to do so. This requires them to have a passport and Permanent Resident Card, also known as a Green Card. 

Who is Eligible?

Lawful permanent residents need to have the appropriate documents in order to travel. The two types of travel documents that are necessary include a refugee travel document and a re-entry permit. Individuals can apply for these documents if they are living in the country for more than one year. A refugee travel document can be issued to an individual that was granted refugee or asylum status or obtained a Green Card because they were once a refugee or asylee. 

A re-entry permit allows a permanent or conditional permanent resident to apply for admission to the country after they return from another country without the need for a returning resident visa. To obtain this permit, the individual must:

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

How to Apply

In order to apply for these documents, the permanent resident is required to fill out and file specific applications. The process for doing so includes the following:

  • 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

The application can be processed once it is submitted. The applicant will then receive notice that it is being reviewed by the United States Citizen and Immigration Services. During this time, the individual may be requested to verify their information in an interview. Once a decision is made, the individual will be given a written notice of the decision.

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.