- Applying for a Green Card
- The Travel Rule
- Applying for a Green card while outside the United States
- Applying for a Green Card After Entering the United States
- Applying for a Green Card from Within the United States
- The Interview Process
- After the Interview
- Traveling on a Green Card
- Renewing or Replacing a Green Card
- Losing a Green Card
If you’re a green card holder planning to travel outside the United States, there are a few things you need to know. Here are the travel rules for green card applicants.
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Applying for a Green Card
If you are a permanent resident of the United States (also known as a “green card holder”), you are allowed to travel outside of the country However, there are some rules that you must follow in order to maintain your status as a permanent resident.
First, you must make sure that your green card is valid and has not expired. If your green card has expired, you can apply for a new one at your local U.S. consulate or embassy.
Second, you should plan to return to the United States within six months of your departure date. If you plan to stay outside of the country for longer than six months, you will need to obtain a “reentry permit” from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Finally, if you have been away from the United States for more than one year, or if you have been out of the country for more than two years with a reentry permit, you will need to apply for a new Green card. You can do this by filing a Form I-90 with USCIS.
The Travel Rule
As a general rule, lawful permanent residents (LPRs or green card holders) may travel outside the United States and return without any issues. An LPR can stay outside the country for up to one year without jeopardizing his or her status. If an LPR plans to be outside the United States for more than one year but less than two years, he or she should obtain a reentry permit. If an LPR is going to be absent from the United States for more than two years, he or she should obtain a returning resident visa from a U.S. consulate abroad. For more information on these options, please see our page on Traveling While Your Green Card Application Is Pending.
There are, however, some instances in which an LPR might have difficulty returning to the United States after traveling abroad. The following are some examples:
-If an LPR travels to a country on the U.S. Department of State’s “designated countries list” (e.g., Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, or Cuba), he or she may have difficulty returning to the United States;
-If an LPR has been convicted of certain crimes (e.g., drug trafficking), he or she may be inadmissible to the United States; or
-If an LPR has been granted voluntary departure from the United States instead of being placed in removal proceedings, he or she may not be allowed to return to the United States unless he or she first obtains permission from USCIS.
Applying for a Green card while outside the United States
If you are currently outside the United States, you will need to complete the following steps in order to apply for a Green Card:
1. You must first obtain an immigrant visa from a U.S. consulate or embassy. The first step in this process is to have an approved petition filed on your behalf with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Your sponsor (usually a family member or employer) must file this petition.
2. Once your petition is approved, you will be notified and instructed to contact the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy to begin the visa application process.
3. You will need to submit several documents as part of your visa application, including a passport, birth certificate, proof of financial support, and medical examination results.
4. If your visa application is approved, you will be issued an immigrant visa and can travel to a U.S. port of entry to be admitted as a permanent resident
Applying for a Green Card After Entering the United States
If you entered the United States without being inspected by an immigration officer, you are considered an undocumented immigrant. You can still apply for a green card, but the process is more complicated.
If you are undocumented, you will need to file an adjustment of status application with the USCIS. You will also need to have a family member or employer who is a U.S. citizen or green card holder sponsor you. The sponsor will need to fill out an I-130 form and submit it to the USCIS on your behalf.
Another way to apply for a green card if you are undocumented is through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The VAWA allows certain spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens and green card holders who have been victims of abuse to self-petition for a green card.
If you have been granted asylum or refugee status, you may also be eligible to apply for a green card one year after being granted that status.
Applying for a Green Card from Within the United States
If you are currently residing in the United States on a valid visa, you may be eligible to apply for a Green Card from within the country. This is often referred to as “adjusting status.” In order to be eligible, you must usually have entered the country legally and have maintained your status since arrival.
The first step in applying for a Green Card from within the United States is to file an I-485 form with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form is also known as the “Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.” In addition to filing this form, you will also need to submit several supporting documents, including proof of your identity, proof of your current legal status in the United States, and proof that you are eligible for Green Card status. Once your I-485 form and supporting documents have been filed, you will be scheduled for an interview with USCIS.
If your application is approved, you will be issued a Green Card and will be allowed to live and work permanently in the United States. If your application is denied, you will generally be given a chance to appeal the decision or may be able to file a new application with new or additional evidence.
The Interview Process
The interview process is the final step in the green card application process. During the interview, a USCIS officer will ask you questions about your eligibility for a green card. You will also be asked to provide evidence to support your claims. In addition to the interview, you may also be required to take a medical exam and/or a biometrics appointment.
After the Interview
After the Interview
All applicants for permanent residence through employment will be scheduled for an interview at a USCIS field office. The interview usually lasts about an hour.
At the interview, the USCIS officer will ask questions to confirm the information contained in the applicant’s petition. The officer will also assess the applicant’s qualifications for a green card.
After the interview, the USCIS officer will make a decision on the case. If the decision is positive, the applicant will be issued a green card. If the decision is negative, the case will be denied and the applicant will be given a written notice of the denial and the specific reasons for it.
Traveling on a Green Card
If you are a legal permanent resident of the United States (i.e. have a green card), you are allowed to travel outside of the country for business or vacation. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before you travel:
Your green card is only valid for 10 years, so if it is expired, you will need to renew it before traveling.
You must have your green card with you whenever you travel outside of the United States and re-enter, as well as a passport from your home country.
You should notify the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of any upcoming international travel plans, as they may need to approve them in advance.
If you are planning to be gone for more than six months, you may need to apply for a reentry permit before leaving the country.
And finally, keep in mind that traveling on a green card does not guarantee entry into every country. Each country has its own immigration requirements that you will need to meet in order to be allowed entry.
Renewing or Replacing a Green Card
If your Green Card is lost, stolen, or damaged, you can replace it by filing form I-90 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If you are a permanent resident who needs to renew your Green Card because it is about to expire, you can file form I-90 up to 6 months before your card expires.
You will need to include the following with your form I-90:
-A copy of your most recent Green Card
-Evidence of your permanent resident status in the United States, if you are not enclosing a copy of your most recent Green Card
-Two passport-style photographs
-The filing fee of $455, or the biometric services fee of $85
Losing a Green Card
Losing a Green Card. If you are a permanent resident (green card holder), you should carry your green card with you at all times. If you lose your green card or it is stolen, you should report the loss or theft to the local police and obtain a police report. You should also notify the nearest U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office. You will need to obtain a new green card to replace the one that was lost or stolen.