Traveling Outside of the United States as a Permanent Resident

Many people come to the United States and obtain Permanent Resident status within the country. This allows the person to live and work permanently within the United States. In order to maintain this status, there are certain rules the individual must follow. Permanent residents are free to travel outside of the country with their status. Temporary travel will not affect their status as long as it is done correctly. In order to travel, the individual needs a passport and their Permanent Resident Card, otherwise known as a Green Card.

Who is Eligible?

Lawful permanent residents who wish to travel outside of the United States for more than one year are required to apply for appropriate documentation. In doing so, there are two different types of travel documents they must obtain: a refugee travel document and a re-entry permit.

A refugee travel document is issued to an individual who was granted refugee or asylum status. This is in addition to those who are a permanent resident with a Green Card because they were a refugee or asylee. Requirements for receiving this document include:

  • The individual had valid refugee or asylee status
  • The individual is a lawful permanent resident as a direct result of their refugee or asylee status

A re-entry permit allows a permanent resident or a conditional permanent resident to apply for admission to the country after they return from another country. This can be done during the permit’s validity without the need to obtain a returning resident visa from a United States Embassy or consulate. Requirements for this permit are:

  • The individual is a lawful permanent resident or conditional permanent resident
  • The individual is physically in the United States when they file the application
  • The individual plans to be outside of the country for one year or more

How to Apply

When a permanent resident wishes to apply for a refugee travel document or a re-entry permit, they must complete and file certain applications. The process includes:

  • Complete the Form I-131, the Application for Travel Document
  • Submit the filing fee, amounts range depending on the age of the applicant
  • Submit evidence and documentation for the Form I-131
  • Sign and file the form at the correct filing location according to the instructions on the form

After an application is submitted, it will be processed. The applicant will then receive notice that the United States Citizen and Immigration Services received the application. They may be requested to appear for an interview to verify their information. Once a decision is made, the individual will be notified by writing.

Contact our Firm

John Sesini is an experienced immigration attorney with offices in Green Bay and Milwaukee Wisconsin. If you have any questions regarding immigration law matters, please contact the Sesini Law Group, S.C. and schedule your initial consultation with our firm today.

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