If you have a green card and you’re in the U.S. legally, you can leave the U.S. for up to a year – but you can leave and return multiple times, provided that you don’t intend to stay outside the U.S. for more than a year.
Travel Rules for Green Card Holders
If you intend to stay outside the U.S. for more than a year, you will have to apply for a re-entry permit with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. However, provided that you intend to stay gone for less than a year, you’ll simply need to have your passport or refugee travel document, as well as your original country’s required documents.
In order to return to the U.S., you’ll need your green card and identifying documents.
Does Travel Affect Permanent Resident Status?
In most cases, trips outside the U.S. won’t affect your permanent resident status – again, though, the one-year period applies. Sometimes, even if you are traveling abroad for less than a year, you can be found to have “abandoned” your permanent resident status; that can happen when it’s believed that you didn’t intend to make the U.S. your permanent residence. The officer in charge of your case will look at things like whether you maintained community or family ties in the U.S. during your absence, or whether you maintained a U.S. address, a job in the States, or filed income taxes as a resident.
Do You Need to Talk to a Milwaukee Immigration Lawyer About Residency?
We may be able to help you apply for a green card in the U.S. Contact us online to schedule a consultation with a Milwaukee immigration attorney today.