Can I Travel Internationally After Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status
On occasion, we have clients who receive their Green Cards and ask about whether they can pursue a job opportunity abroad because it will further their career progression. We advise that a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) may leave the United States multiple times and reenter, if he or she does not intend to stay outside the U.S. for 1 year or more.
If you intend to stay outside the U.S. for 1 year or more, you must apply for a re-entry permit with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) prior to leaving the United States. Re-entry permits are generally valid for 2 years from the date of issuance. Therefore, if you are outside of the US longer than the date the permit was issued, you may be denied entry into the United States.
A Reentry Permit allows a green card holder to apply for admission to the U.S. upon returning from abroad during the permit’s validity period, removing the need to obtain a returning resident visa from a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate.
About the Reentry Permit
- The Applicant must be physically present in the United States when he or she files the Reentry Permit application.
- After filing the Application for a Reentry Permit, USCIS will inform the Applicant in writing when to go to his or her local Application Support Center (ASC) for the biometrics services appointment. The Applicant must be physically present in the United States to complete the biometrics services requirement.
- With the exception of having to obtain a returning resident visa abroad, a Reentry Permit does not exempt the Applicant from compliance with any of the requirements of U.S. immigration laws. If the Applicant is in possession of a valid, unexpired Reentry Permit, he or she will not be deemed to have abandoned his or her status as a lawful permanent resident based solely on the duration of his or her absences from the United States while the permit is valid
Validity of a Reentry Permit
- Generally, a Reentry Permit issued to a Lawful Permanent Resident is valid for 2 years from the date of issuance. See 8 CFR section 223.3(a)(1). However, if you have been outside the US for more than 4 of the last 5 years since becoming a lawful permanent resident, the reentry permit will be limited to 1 year, A reentry permit with a 2-year validity period may still be issued to the following:
- A lawful permanent resident whose travel is on the order of the U.S. Government, other than an exclusion, deportation, removal, or rescission order,
- A lawful permanent resident employed by a public international organization of which the United States is a member by treaty or statute, or
- A lawful permanent resident who is a professional athlete and regularly competes in the United States and worldwide
- A Reentry Permit issued to a conditional permanent resident is valid for 2 years from the date of issuance, or to the date the conditional permanent resident must apply for removal of the conditions on his or her status, whichever date comes first.
- A Reentry Permit may not be extended.
Notice to Green Card Holders Concerning Possible Abandonment of Status
If you do not obtain a Reentry Permit, lengthy or frequent absences from the United States could be factors supporting a conclusion that you have abandoned your lawful permanent resident status. If the Department of Homeland Security determines, upon your return to the United States, that you have abandoned your lawful permanent resident status, you may challenge that determination if you are placed in removal proceedings.
Ways to Challenge Abandonment of Lawful Permanent (LPR) Status
Having strong ties to the US, through relatives, home, work, investments, paying taxes, attending school, and other ties challenge an LPR abandonment claim. For instance, the individual can show:
- Evidence of property ownership, whether real or personal, in the US (e.g., Mortgage Payment Obligations, US Bank Accounts, etc.),
- Employment Contracts, evidencing employment with a US company abroad,
- Evidence of a predetermined travel termination date, and
- Evidence of having filed US Income Tax Returns for the past year(s).