Traveling with a Conditional Green Card

A conditional green card holder is someone who obtained permanent residency through marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. If you are a conditional green card holder, you may travel outside the United States and return, as long as you meet certain requirements.

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Applying for a Green Card

If you are planning to travel outside the United States with a conditional green card, you will need to apply for a reentry permit. This permit will allow you to return to the United States after traveling abroad.

You can apply for a reentry permit by filing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You must file this form before you leave the United States.

You will need to include the following documents with your application:
-A copy of your current green card
-A copy of your travel itinerary
-Proof of payment for the application fee

Once you have filed your application, USCIS will review it and either approve or deny your request for a reentry permit. If approved, you will be issued a permit that is valid for two years. You should carry this permit with you when you travel outside the United States.

The Green Card Application Process

If you are a permanent resident of the United States with a conditional green card, you may travel outside of the country. However, there are some things you need to do before you leave and when you return to ensure that your status is maintained.

Before You Leave:
-Inform USCIS of your upcoming travel plans. You can do this by filing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document.
-Make sure you have a valid passport. If your passport will expire while you are gone, get it renewed before you leave.
-Carry your green card with you when you travel. Do not pack it in your checked luggage; keep it on your person in case you are asked to present it upon returning to the United States.

When You Return:
-Present your green card and passport to the customs officer when you arrive back in the United States.
-If USCIS has requested that you provide additional documentation or attend an interview as part of the application process, be sure to do so within the specified timeframe.

The Interview Process

If you are applying for a conditional green card, you will need to attend an interview with a USCIS officer. The purpose of the interview is to verify the information on your application and to determine whether you are eligible for the green card.

You will need to bring several documents to the interview, including your passport, birth certificate, and evidence of your relationship to your sponsoring spouse. You will also need to bring any other documents that USCIS has requested.

The interview will be conducted in English, but if you do not speak English, you may bring an interpreter. You will be asked questions about your background, your relationship to your spouse, and your plans for the future.

After the interview, the USCIS officer will make a decision on your application. If approved, you will receive your conditional green card in the mail. If denied, you will be given a reason for the denial and may have the opportunity to appeal the decision.

After the Interview

After you have attended your interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate, the consular officer will inform you whether your application for a conditional green card has been approved or denied.

If your application is approved, the consular officer will stamp your passport and return it to you, along with your conditional green card. You will then be able to travel to the United States as a permanent resident. You will need to present your passport and green card when you arrive at a U.S. port of entry, and you will need to keep these documents with you at all times while you are in the United States.

If your application is denied, the consular officer will give you a written notice that explains the reasons for the denial. You may be able to file an appeal or request a waiver (depending on the reason for the denial), or you may simply reapply for a conditional green card at a later time.

Adjustment of Status

If you are a permanent resident and you want to travel outside the United States, you will need a reentry permit. A reentry permit is granted to a lawful permanent resident who wants to travel outside the United States for extended periods of time, usually up to 2 years, without losing his or her status as a permanent resident. You must have been physically present in the United States for at least one year before applying for a reentry permit. If your application is approved, you will be given a multiple entry permit that allows you to leave and return to the United States as many times as you want during the validity period of your permit, which is usually two years.
Note: If you have been away from the United States for more than one year or if your green card has expired, you will need to apply for a new green card instead of a reentry permit.

Removal of Conditions

If you are a conditional permanent resident, you received your green card based on a marriage that was less than two years old when you were granted permanent residence. You will need to file a petition to remove the conditions on your residence within the 90 days before your second anniversary as a conditional resident.

Reapplying for a Green Card

If you are a permanent resident of the United States with a conditional green card, you will need to reapply for a green card before your card expires. The process for doing this is similar to the process for applying for a green card for the first time. You will need to fill out an application, submit evidence of your status, and attend an interview.

If you are traveling outside of the United States while your green card is expired, you will need to reapply for a green card as well. You can do this by submitting an application to USCIS or by going through consular processing. If you choose to apply through USCIS, you will need to submit an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485).

Inadmissibility

If you have a conditional green card, there are special rules that apply to you if you want to leave and then return to the United States. These rules are called “inadmissibility.”

In general, there are two ways that you can be inadmissible:

1. You can have a condition on your green card that makes you inadmissible.
2. You can have something in your background that makes you inadmissible, even if you do not have a condition on your green card.

If you try to return to the United States and the immigration officer at the port of entry finds that you are inadmissible, you will be denied entry into the United States. In some cases, you may be able to apply for a waiver of inadmissibility, but it is important to understand the rules before you travel so that you do not find yourself stranded outside of the United States.

Abandonment

Abandonment of your permanent resident status can have serious consequences. If you abandon your status, you may be ineligible for certain benefits, including:

-Entry into the United States
-Adjustment of status to permanent resident
-Naturalization
-Sponsorship of relatives for permanent residence in the United States

If you are a conditional permanent resident, there are additional consequences of abandonment. You will automatically lose your conditional permanent resident status if you:

-Stay outside the United States for more than one year without receiving advance permission from USCIS (see “How Does Leaving the United States Affect My Permanent Resident Status?”); or
-Fail to file a petition to remove the conditions on your residence within the 90 days before your second anniversary as a conditional permanent resident.

Other Considerations

When planning any international travel, it is important to consider what type of travel document you will need to enter and exit the country or countries you are visiting. If you are a conditional permanent resident, you must ensure that your green card will be valid for the duration of your trip. Depending on the reason for your travel, you may also need to obtain other documents, such as a visa, in order to enter certain countries.

If your green card will expire while you are traveling, you should apply for a new one before leaving the United States. You can do this by filing Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. If you are unable to file Form I-90 before your trip, you may be eligible for a “boarding foil.” This document will allow you to board a plane or ship bound for the United States and request that an immigration officer admit you into the country. You should only request a boarding foil if you meet all of the following conditions:

*You are a conditional permanent resident
*Your green card is expired or will expire within six months of your planned return date to the United States
*You have filed Form I-90 to renew your green card but have not yet received a new one
*You have not been scheduled for an interview with USCIS (this includes if your interview has been rescheduled)
*You have not had any violations of your conditional permanent resident status

If you meet all of these conditions, you may request a boarding foil by contacting USCIS at least 72 hours before your planned travel date.

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