If you’re wondering when you can travel after applying for a green card, the answer may depend on a few factors. Learn more about what to expect here.
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The U.S. Department of State has updated its travel warning for Mexico, urging U.S. citizens to exercise increased caution when traveling to the country. The update comes after several recent high-profile crimes, including the shooting of two Mexican federal policemen on a highway in Michoacan and the killing of nine members of a Mormon family in Sonora.
U.S. citizens are also advised to avoid non-essential travel to Guerrero and Tamaulipas due to crime. According to the travel warning, “armed groups operate independently of the government in many areas of Guerrero” and “ crime and violence are widespread” in Tamaulipas.
The State Department says that U.S. citizens should use caution when traveling to Mexico and “be aware that local authorities may not be able to respond effectively to emergencies.”
Applying for a Green Card
The process of applying for a green card can take several months, and if you plan on traveling during this time, it’s important to understand the restrictions that may be placed on your travel.
If you are applying for a green card from outside of the United States, you will need to obtain a visa before traveling. Once you have been issued a visa, you will be able to travel to the United States and apply for a green card. However, if your visa is still pending when you arrive in the United States, you will not be able to leave the country until your visa is approved.
If you are already in the United States when you apply for a green card, you will not need to obtain a visa before traveling. However, if your green card application is still pending when you travel, you may be required to obtain a “reentry permit” before leaving the United States. A reentry permit allows you to leave the country and return while your green card application is still pending.
In either case, it’s important to check with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before traveling to make sure that you understand the restrictions that may apply to your travel.
The Interview Process
After you have filed your green card application, you will receive a notice to attend an interview with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer. The notice will list the date, time and location of your interview.
You must bring the following documents to your interview:
-A copy of your notice of action (NOA) Form I-797
-Two identical color photographs taken within 30 days of your interview that meet USCIS’s requirements
-Your civil documents, if applicable (e.g., birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree)
-Any other supporting documentation USCIS has requested
After the Interview
If everything goes well during your interview, the USCIS officer will approve your case and you will be on your way to getting your green card. The officer will give you a document called a “Notice of Approval” (Form I-797C). The date on this form is your priority date. This is the date that the USCIS uses to track when you can get your green card. If you are already in the United States, you should receive your green card within about two to three weeks after the USCIS approves your case. If you are outside of the United States, it will take longer for you to get your green card.
The decision on when you can travel after applying for a green card depends on a few factors. The type of application you submit, your country of origin, and your current immigration status all play a role in the decision.
If you submit an application for a green card through employment, you will likely be able to travel after your interview with USCIS. However, if you are applying for a green card through family or another relationships, you may have to wait until your application is approved.
If you are from a country that is designated as high risk for immigration fraud, you may have to wait until your application is approved before traveling. USCIS may also require additional background checks for applicants from high risk countries.
Finally, your current immigration status will also affect when you can travel after applying for a green card. If you are currently in the United States on a non-immigrant visa, you will likely be able to stay and travel within the country while your application is pending. However, if you are applying for a green Card from outside the United States, you will not be able to enter the country until your application is approved.
After the Decision
Travel After the Decision
After you have received your green card, you are free to travel outside the United States. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before you travel.
First, we recommend that you carry your green card with you at all times. If you plan to be outside the United States for more than one year, you should get a reentry permit. A reentry permit allows you to apply for entry into the United States without having to obtain a new immigrant visa from a U.S. consulate abroad.
Second, if you are a lawful permanent resident and you leave the United States for more than 180 days, you may be subject to a requirement that you show that you did not abandon your residence in the United States. This is known as the “180-day rule.”
If you plan to be outside the United States for more than 180 days but less than one year, and you wish to maintain your status as a lawful permanent resident, we recommend that you apply for a returning resident visa from a U.S. consulate before leaving the United States. A returning resident visa allows you to apply for entry into the United States after being away for up to two years without having to obtain a new immigrant visa from a U.S. consulate abroad
If You Are Approved
If you are approved for a green card, you will be issued a document called a permanent resident card (“green card”). This card proves that you have been granted permanent residence in the United States. You can use your green card to live and work in the United States permanently. If you are outside the United States when you are approved for a green card, you will be notified to return to the United States to pick up your green card. You will need to show your green card to enter the United States and to get a job.
If You Are Denied
If you are denied a green card, you will be given a written notice that explains why. The notice will also tell you what, if anything, you can do to correct the problem.
If you think the decision is wrong, you can appeal or ask for a hearing. You must file your appeal or request within 30 days of receiving the notice of denial.
The Appeal Process
If you travel outside the United States after filing your green card application and before you receive your green card, you will need to obtain a special travel document called a returning resident visa. You should apply for this document at a U.S. consulate as soon as possible after being away from the United States for more than one year. If your application is approved, you will be interviewed and scheduled for a medical examination. If all goes well, you will receive your returning resident visa and be able to re-enter the United States.
If you are denied a green card, you have the right to appeal the decision. The appeals process can be complicated, so it is important to have an experienced immigration attorney on your side. If you win your appeal, you will be able to continue with your green card application and schedule an interview at a U.S. consulate.
After the Appeal
If you have applied for a green card and your application has been denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. The appeal must be filed within 30 days of the date you received the notice of the denial. Once the appeal is filed, USCIS will review your case and make a decision. If the appeal is denied, you may file a motion to reconsider or a motion to reopen your case.