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Can you travel outside of the U.S. with a green card?

On Behalf of | Jul 13, 2022 | Citizenship

You’ve already obtained your green card. Perhaps you moved to the United States on a student visa and then got married. Your marriage allowed you to get that green card. But regardless of how you got it, you know that you are a lawful resident of the U.S.

That doesn’t mean you want to stay in the United States indefinitely. Maybe you want to travel back to your home country to see your family. Perhaps you just want to travel the world and spend time as a tourist. Are you allowed to leave the United States and then come back into the country on the same green card? Or would you lose your status if you decided to leave?

The limit is one year

It all really depends on how long you decide to leave. If it’s something like a two-week vacation back home to see your family, that’s no problem. You can leave the country and return just like any other American resident. Just because you have a green card doesn’t change that. 

If your trip is going to last for more than 12 months, that’s when things get a little more complicated. Before you leave, you need to apply for a re-entry permit through the government. This will allow you to return in the future, at the end of your trip. If you fail to do this before you leave, then you could run into complications trying to get back into the country as a green card holder who has been gone for so long.

You certainly don’t want to jeopardize your status or make any mistakes, so be sure you understand exactly what legal steps you need to take so that everything goes smoothly. 

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