The Green Card Process is a long and difficult one, but it’s worth it in the end. Here’s how to get permission to travel during the process.
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If you are in the process of getting a green card or Permanent Resident Card (PRC), also known as an immigrant visa, you may want to travel outside the United States. While it is possible to get permission to travel while your application is pending, you will need to meet certain requirements and follow the correct procedure.
In this article, we will provide an overview of the steps you need to take in order to get permission to travel while your green card application is pending. We will also address some common questions about traveling on a green card.
Applying for a Green Card
If you want to travel outside the United States during the green card process, you will need to apply for a special travel document called a “Advance Parole.”
Advance Parole allows you to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad. If you do not have Advance Parole and attempt to re-enter the country, you will be denied entry and may be subject to removal proceedings.
You can apply for Advance Parole by filing Form I-131 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You must include evidence that you meet one of the following criteria:
-You have an approved Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status;
-You are paroled into the United States and are applying for Adjustment of Status; or
-You are a refugee or asylee who is applying for Adjustment of Status.
There is no fee to file Form I-131. However, if your application is approved, you will have to pay a $575 processing fee.
USCIS typically processes Form I-131 within 90 days of receipt. However, processing times may vary depending on the USCIS office where you file your application.
If you need to travel urgently before your application is processed, you can request expedited processing by filing Form I-765W, Request for Expedited Processing of Advance Parole Application.
The Green Card Interview
One of the final steps of the green card process is the green card interview, during which a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer will ask you questions to confirm your eligibility for a green card.
If you are married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and you filed your green card application based on your marriage, then you will usually be interviewed together with your spouse. If you have children who are also applying for green cards, they may also be interviewed at the same time.
The interview usually takes place at the USCIS field office that has jurisdiction over your place of residence. However, in some cases it may be conducted at a U.S. consulate abroad, if that is where your spouse resides or if you reside in certain other countries where USCIS has no field office presence.
You will need to bring several original documents with you to the interview, such as your passport, birth certificate, and marriage certificate (if applicable). The USCIS officer will also likely ask to see original copies of any documents that you submitted as part of your green card application, such as evidence of financial support and evidence of your relationship (if applicable).
The officer will ask you questions about yourself and your family, as well as about your marriage (if applicable). They may also ask about your employment history and educational background. The officer will be looking to see if you are eligible for a green card and if you meet all the requirements.
You should answer all questions truthfully and to the best of your ability. It is important to remember that the USCIS officer is trying to determine if you are eligible for a green card, and not whether or not you deserve one. Be honest about any information that may be relevant to your case, even if it seems negative.
Once the interview is over, the USCIS officer will let you know whether or not you have been approved for a green card. If so, they will give you instructions on how to proceed with getting your green card issued. If not, they will tell you what needs to be done in order for you to become eligible for a green card in the future.
After the Interview
If you want to travel outside the United States after your green card interview, you must request permission from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This is called advance parole.
If you do not have advance parole, you will not be allowed to return to the United States if you leave.
You should request advance parole at least two weeks before your planned travel date. USCIS will then mail you a decision on your request. If it is approved, you will receive a travel document that allows you to re-enter the United States.
If your advance parole request is denied, you can reapply. However, if you leave the United States without advance parole and are denied entry, you will have to start the green card process over again from the beginning.
If You Are Denied a Green Card
If you are denied a green card, you may be able to file an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals within 30 days of the denial. You will need to submit a written brief and may also be able to present your case at an oral argument. If you prevail on your appeal, you will be granted a green card. If your appeal is denied, you may be able to file a motion to reopen or reconsider the decision, or you may be able to request that the Department of Homeland Security review the decision. If none of these options are successful, you will need to leave the United States.
After You Get Your Green Card
If you want to leave the United States and return during the green card process, you must get permission from the USCIS. This is called “advance parole.”
If you do not get advance parole, you will abandon your green card application and will not be able to return to the United States.
To get advance parole, you must file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. There is no filing fee for this form.
You may apply for advance parole at the same time that you apply for your green card. If you are already in the United States with a valid visa, you may file Form I-131 up to 90 days before your planned trip.
You will need to show that you have a reason to leave the United States and return during the green card process. The USCIS will consider your reasons for travel and decide whether or not to approve your request for advance parole.
Reasons that may be considered include:
-study abroad program
Traveling Outside the United States
If you want to travel outside the United States while your green card application is pending, you must get permission from the U.S. government first. This permission is in the form of a document called an advance parole.
You can apply for an advance parole by filing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You will need to show that you have a legitimate reason for traveling and that you will return to the United States before your green card is issued.
If you do not have an advance parole, you may be denied entry into the United States when you try to come back, and your green card application may be canceled. Therefore, it is very important that you do not travel outside the United States without first getting permission from USCIS.
Applying for a Travel Document
If you want to travel outside the United States while your Green Card application is pending, you need to apply for a travel document. This document proves that you have permission to return to the United States and finish the Green Card process.
The first step is to fill out an Application for a Travel Document, also known as Form I-131. You can get this form from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website or by visiting your local USCIS office.
Once you have filled out the form, you will need to gather supporting documents. These may include evidence of your relationship to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, proof of your Green Card application, and a statement from your employer explaining why you need to travel.
Once you have everything ready, submit your form and documents to USCIS. You may be asked to attend an interview at your local USCIS office, but this is not always required. If everything goes smoothly, you should receive your travel document within a few weeks.
If Your Green Card is Lost or Stolen
If your green card is lost or stolen, you should report the loss or theft to the police immediately. You should also contact the nearest office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and file a report. You will need to complete a form called an “Application for Replacement Permanent Resident Card” (Form I-90). There is a fee for this form.
If you are outside the United States when your green card is lost or stolen, you should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. They will help you replace your green card.
Renewing or Replacing Your Green Card
If you are a permanent resident (commonly known as a “green card holder”), you are allowed to travel outside the United States. However, you must have a valid, unexpired green card in order to return to the U.S. If your green card is set to expire within the next 6 months, you will need to renew it before traveling. If your green Card has already expired you will need to apply for a new one.
You may apply for a new or replacement green card from inside or outside of the United States. If you are applying from outside of the U.S., you will need to have your fingerprints and photo taken at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
When applying for a new or replacement green card, you will need to submit:
-A completed Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card
-Two color photographs of yourself (taken within 30 days of the date that you file your application)
-Your current green card (if it is not expired and you are applying from inside the United States)
There is no filing fee for Form I-90 if you are replacing a green card that was lost, stolen, or destroyed. Otherwise, there is a $455 filing fee for Form I-90 plus an $85 biometric services fee (for most applicants).
You may also need to submit additional documents depending on your individual situation. For example, if your name has changed since you last received your green card, you will need to submit proof of the legal name change (e.g., marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order).
If you are traveling outside the United States and your green card expires while you are away, we recommend that you apply for a new one before leaving so that you do not have any issue returning to the U.S.