If you are in the process of applying for a green card, you may be wondering if you are able to travel while your application is pending. The answer is: it depends. Learn more about what you need to know about pending green card applications and travel.
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Introduction: what is a green card and what are the requirements for obtaining one?
A green card, also known as a permanent resident card, is a document that proves that an individual has been granted the right to live and work permanently in the United States. The process of obtaining a green card is known as “adjustment of status.”
Individuals who have been granted a green card are considered to be lawful permanent residents of the United States. Green card holders are also sometimes referred to as “legal permanent residents” or “LPRs.”
There are several requirements that an individual must meet in order to be eligible for a green card, including but not limited to the following:
-The individual must be sponsored by a family member or employer who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
-The individual must be admissible to the United States. This means that he or she does not have any criminal convictions that would make him or her ineligible for a green card, and that he or she does not pose a threat to public safety or national security.
-The individual must have a qualifying immigrant visa petition approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The application process: what forms need to be filed and how long does it take?
The application process for a green card can be complex, and it usually involves filing several forms. The most common form is the I-485, which is the application to adjust status. Other forms that may need to be filed include the I-130 (petition for alien relative) and the I-131 (application for travel document). How long the process takes depends on many factors, including which country you are from and whether you are applying for a family-based or employment-based green card. In general, the entire process can take anywhere from six months to several years.
Travel while your application is pending: what are the restrictions and what documents do you need to carry?
If you are in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa and have applied for a green card, you may wonder whether you are allowed to travel while your application is pending. The answer to this question depends on what type of visa you have.
If you are in the United States on a tourist visa, for example, you will not be able to remain in the country while your green card application is pending. However, if you have a valid work visa, such as an H-1B visa, you can remain in the United States and continue working while your application is pending.
There are also some restrictions on travel if your green card application is based on asylum or refugee status. If your case is still being adjudicated by USCIS, you will need to obtain advance permission to travel outside the United States, known as “advance parole.” You can apply for advance parole by filing Form I-131 with USCIS. If your application for asylum or refugee status has been granted, however, you will not need advance parole to travel; instead, you can apply for a Refugee Travel Document using Form I-571.
It’s important to note that even if you are allowed to remain in the United States and work while your green card application is pending, there may be restrictions on where you can travel. For example, if you have an H-1B visa, you will only be able to travel to countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program or that have a bilateral agreement with the United States allowing H-1B holders to enter without a visa. You should also check with USCIS before traveling outside the United States to make sure that doing so will not negatively impact your green card application.
Check the status of your application: how can you check on the progress of your green card application?
There are a few different ways that you can check on the status of your green card application. The best way to do this is to contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283. You will need to provide your application receipt number, which can be found on your notice of action (form I-797).
If you have applied for a green card through employment, you can also check the status of your application online through the USCIS My Case Status tool. You will need to create an account and enter your application receipt number.
You can also check the status of your green card application by visiting your local USCIS office. Be sure to bring along your application receipt number and any other relevant documentation.
After your application is approved: what happens next?
After you have been approved for a green card, you will be contacted by the USCIS to schedule an interview at a local USCIS office. You will be asked to bring certain documents with you to the interview, which will be used to verify your identity and that you are eligible for a green card.
If your application is approved, you will be scheduled for a fingerprinting appointment. After your fingerprints have been taken, you will receive your green card in the mail. If you have any questions about the process or what to expect, please contact our office.
If your application is denied: what are your options?
If you are applying for a green card and your application is denied, you have a few different options. You can reapply, try to get a different type of visa, or appeal the decision.
Reapplying is usually the best option, but it can take a long time. If you need to travel in the meantime, you might be able to get a different type of visa. For example, if you have a job offer in the United States, you might be able to get a work visa. Or, if you have family in the United States, you might be able to get a tourist visa.
Appealing the decision is an option, but it can be difficult. You will need to show that there was some mistake made in your application or that new information has come to light that should change the decision. If you decide to appeal, you should talk to an attorney to understand the process and what your chances are of success.
FAQs about the green card application process
Q: Do I need to apply for a new green card if I want to travel outside the United States?
A: No. If you have a valid green card, you can travel outside the United States and return as long as your green card is not expired. However, if your green card will expire within six months of your planned return to the United States, you should renew your green card before traveling.
Q: Will my pending green card application be affected if I travel outside the United States?
A: It depends. If you have a pending Adjustment of Status (AOS) application and you leave the United States, your AOS application will be automatically abandoned. However, if you have a pending immigrant visa application (consular processing), traveling outside the United States will not affect your application.
Q: I am a permanent resident of the United States and I want to travel to my home country for a family emergency. Will my green card be automatically cancelled if I leave?
A: No. Your green card will not be automatically cancelled if you leave the United States for a short trip, such as for a family emergency. However, if you stay outside the United States for more than one year, or if you move to another country with the intention of making that your primary residence, USCIS may deem that you have abandoned your permanent resident status and cancel your green card.
Resources for more information about green cards
As of May 1, 2019, there are approximately 700,000 applications for permanent residence (a.k.a. green cards) pending with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The current processing time for these applications is 10 to 13 months.
This means that if you have a pending green card application and need to travel outside the United States, you may be able to do so without having your green card in hand. However, you will need to take special care to ensure that you are able to return to the United States without any issues.
There are two main ways to travel with a pending green card application: with an Advance Parole document or with a valid passport from your home country. If you choose to travel with an Advance Parole document, you will need to apply for one from USCIS before you leave the United States. This document allows you to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad without a green card or visa.
However, if you choose to travel with a valid passport from your home country, you will need to make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the date of your planned return to the United States. You will also need to have a valid U.S. visa in your passport – either a tourist visa (B-2) or an immigrant visa (if you are returning after traveling on an immigrant visa). If you do not have a valid U.S. visa, you will not be able to re-enter the United States and may face delays in getting your green card approved.
When traveling back into the United States, be sure to stay within the dates listed on your Advance Parole document or keep your passport and visa well within their expiration date so that there are no issues when going through customs upon your return. It is also important to note that if your green card application is approved while you are outside of the United States, you will need to return using your new green card and not your Advance Parole document or passport/visa combination.
Stories from people who have gone through the green card application process
There are many people who have gone through the green card application process and have had to deal with the implications of being a pending applicant. Here are some stories from people who have gone through the process.
“I applied for my green card in 2013. I was told that the wait time would be approximately eight months. However, my application is still pending. In the meantime, I have not been able to travel outside of the United States. This has been very difficult for me, as I have family members who live in other countries. Additionally, I have not been able to take advantage of opportunities to travel for work. The wait time for my green card has been frustrating and has had a negative impact on my life.”
“I applied for my green card in 2017. The process was very smooth and I received my green card within six months. I was then able to travel outside of the United States and visit my family in other countries. I was also able to take advantage of work opportunities that required travel.”
“I applied for my green card in 2019. My application is still pending. In the meantime, I have been very careful about traveling outside of the United States. I only travel to countries that allow people with pending green card applications to enter. Additionally, I make sure to keep track of all of my travel dates and dates of entry into the United States.”
Tips for a successful green card application
The visa process for obtaining a green card can be lengthy and complex. It’s important to understand the requirements and the process before you begin.
There are two basic ways to apply for a green card: through employment or through family. If you are applying through employment, you will need an offer of permanent employment from a U.S. employer. If you are applying through family, you will need to be related to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
Once you have determined how you will apply for your green card, there are a few things you can do to ensure a successful application:
-Gather all of the required documents. This may include birth certificates, passport photos, and educational records.
-Complete the forms accurately and completely. Incomplete or inaccurate forms can delay the processing of your application.
-Submit your application as soon as possible. Early submission gives you a better chance of being selected for an interview.
-Prepare for your interview by being honest and specific in your answers to the questions asked. Be sure to bring all required documentation with you to the interview.
-If your application is approved, follow all instructions carefully to ensure that you receive your green card in a timely manner.