Useful Information for those Traveling Abroad with a Greencard

Lawful permanent residents (greencard holders) can generally travel outside of the United States without difficulty. However, if you want to remain outside of the U.S. for a continuous period of six months or more, it would be wise to apply for a reentry permit prior to leaving the U.S.

Applying for a Reentry Permit

A reentry permit basically gives you permission to be outside of the U.S. while keeping your greencard valid. Your initial permit is usually valid for two years and can be renewed.

You must be in the U.S. to apply for your reentry permit. (If you are already outside of the U.S., please contact us to discuss your options). After you submit your application, you will receive an appointment to have your fingerprints taken. If you cannot go to your appointment, we can request a new appointment on a different date and time. After you have your fingerprints taken, you can choose to leave the U.S. and have your permit sent to a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.

If your circumstances require it, you may apply for your reentry permit while in the U.S., then leave the U.S., return back to the U.S. to have your fingerprints taken, and then leave again and receive your permit abroad.

It is important to let us know your traveling plans at the time of your application.

Obtaining a reentry permit is very important because if you leave the U.S. for six months or more, when you try to reenter the U.S. you may be deemed to have abandoned your greencard (residency). Even shorter periods of time outside of the U.S. can be problematic if you are considered to have taken up residence abroad.

You can, for example, abandon your greencard by failing to file income tax returns while living outside of the U.S. for any period of time or if you declare yourself a “nonimmigrant” on your tax returns.

A reentry permit does not guarantee reentry into the U.S. but is certainly very strong evidence of your intent to remain a resident.

Also note that if you have a criminal conviction, you may have difficulty reentering the U.S. (regardless of a reentry permit) and you could even be detained and placed in removal (deportation) proceedings. For this reason, we suggest that if you’ve had any encounter with law enforcement to consult with us prior to leaving the U.S.

Traveling abroad after getting your greencard can be a positive experience if you are well advised and prepared. We encourage you to contact us prior to traveling abroad. You can visit us at our Sacramento or San Francisco offices or call us at (916) 613 6553 from anywhere in the world

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