Leaving the U.S. if You Have a Green Card | What You Should Know

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If you are a green card holder planning on leaving the country, please read on, then contact an experienced work and travel authorization lawyer to learn what you should know about leaving the U.S. if you have a green card.

Does leaving the U.S. affect your green card status?

Green card holders have the freedom to travel outside the United States. Furthermore, temporary or brief travel generally does not affect your permanent resident status. However, if the appropriate bodies determine that you did not intend to make the United States your permanent home, they may find that you have abandoned your permanent resident status. Immigration officials may accuse you of abandoning your green card if you:

  • Travel outside the U.S. for a year or more
  • Failed to maintain U.S. family and community ties
  • Did not file U.S. income taxes as a resident
  • Did not otherwise establish your intention to return to the U.S. as your permanent home

What documents do you need to leave and reenter the United States with a green card?

To leave the United States as a green card holder, you will need to present a passport from your country of citizenship and/or your refugee travel document. Keep in mind, the foreign country you plan to travel to may have its own entry and exit requirements, such as visas.

In order for a green card holder to reenter the United States, you will need a valid, unexpired green card (Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card), a passport, a foreign national identification card or a United States driver’s license and any other identity documents.

How can a family immigration attorney help you?

By reaching out to a skilled family immigration attorney to discuss your next steps, you may have a better understanding of your rights and responsibilities regarding your trip outside of the United States. Should you be accused of abandoning your green card, a qualified legal professional from our firm can help compile and present the necessary evidence to substantiate your intention to remain a permanent resident in the United States. We will argue that you do intend to remain a permanent resident because you:

  • Still maintain a U.S. mailing address
  • Keep a U.S. bank account or valid driver’s license
  • Own property in the United States
  • Run a business in the United States.

U.S. immigration law is complex and cumbersome. Our firm can help you navigate this process and preserve your rights every step of the way. Give us a call today.

Contact our experienced firm

The award-winning Lightman Law Firm, founded by Douglas Lightman, has extensive experience in immigration law and international matters through both work and personal experience. With offices in Fairfax, VA, New York, New York and Jersey City, NJ, our firm understands what is at stake when it comes to immigration law matters, which is why if you have any questions, you should not hesitate to contact the Lightman Law Firm and schedule your initial consultation today.