Travel is a pivotal part of many immigrants’ lives. Whether they are visiting family back home or touring a new destination, travel can mean connecting with loved ones and gaining new experiences. If you are an immigrant with a permanent resident status in the United States, you may wonder if you are legally allowed to travel without your green card. Continue reading and contact a green card immigration lawyer in NYC for more information.

What is a Green Card?

A green card, also known as a permanent resident card, is a card that signifies a person’s lawful permanent residence in the United States. It means that they have gone through the immigration process and were granted the right to live and work within the U.S. permanently. While they are not considered citizens, green card holders benefit from most of the same rights as U.S. citizens. The green card is an identification for an immigrant and proves that they are authorized to reside in the country.

Can A Green Card Holder Travel Without It?

As established, green cards are vital pieces of identification and authorization for permanent residents. Although it is important, is it necessary to take it everywhere? What about when you travel?

When traveling domestically it is not always necessary for a permanent resident to bring their green card along. They can usually get by with another form of identification such as a state driver’s license or ID card. However, it is better to be safe than sorry. While not always required it is recommended that a green card holder bring it on domestic trips as proof of legal residency.

If an immigrant wishes to travel internationally the importance of carrying their green card increases. While they may be able to board their flight and leave the United States without it, they will be asked to present their green card when they re-enter the country. Without a permanent resident card, a green card holder will surely face delays, questioning, and may even be refused re-entry into the country.

What Happens if I Need to Travel Without My Green Card?

If you are still awaiting the arrival of your green card travel can be tricky. You may need to go on a work trip or travel home to see a relative. If you are traveling domestically you may be able to forgo carrying your green card as long as you have other forms of identification and legal residence like a state-issued ID or driver’s license.

If you need to travel internationally before your green card has arrived you can apply for temporary travel documents to ensure smooth travel. You can request a re-entry permit or be given an I-551 stamp in your passport. These serve as temporary proof of your legal residence and allow you to travel abroad and return without jeopardizing your residence status.

While it may not always be necessary, it is recommended that you carry your green card whenever possible to avoid issues and confusion especially when traveling.