Can I Travel Without a Green Card?

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Understanding immigration law can be challenging, especially for those awaiting the approval of their green card application or lawful permanent residence status. A common question in this context pertains to the permissibility of international travel during this period. Given the potential risks that such travel may jeopardize their application. Please continue reading to learn whether you can travel outside the United States while awaiting the change of your immigration stats and how our adept Essex County Green Card Attorneys can help you avoid jeopardizing your application. 

Is a Green Card Necessary to Travel Abroad?

If you are currently awaiting approval for a green card, you may have inquiries about your travel rights outside of the U.S. during this period. It’s essential to understand the limitations and regulations governing travel to avoid possible complications regarding your application. A green card is a document that proves your permanent residency in the United States. It demonstrates that you can legally live and work in the country. Additionally, it shows your legal status according to immigration laws.

That said, a green card is not necessary to travel abroad. If you applied for a green card and were approved but haven’t received your document yet, traveling internationally is only possible if you are already a permanent resident. Upon arrival at a port of entry, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers will stamp your passport with a “Temporary Proof of Legal Residence” stamp. This is temporary proof of your status as a lawful U.S. permanent resident. It’s essential to note that this stamp is usually valid for up to one year from the stamped date. Essentially, this stamp will work as a temporary travel pass. You can travel internationally, going in and out of the U.S.

What If My Passport Expires?

Before traveling, you should check when your passport is set to expire. This information can be located on the same page as your photo. If your passport has expired or will expire while you are outside the U.S., you must renew it. Green card holders can contact the country’s embassy office to renew their passports. They can also renew their passport when they visit their home country. However, renewal of passports online on the U.S. Department of State’s website is only available to U.S. passport holders, not green card holders. Therefore, if you plan to travel abroad during this period, ensure your passport is up-to-date to avoid any complications for re-entry.

If you are awaiting approval for a green card application, please don’t hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Christopher T. Howell, Esq., who can help guide you through every step of this complex legal process.