Immigration And Criminal Defense Lawyers

Does leaving the U.S. invalidate a green card?

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2024 | Immigration Law |

Getting a green card can be a long process. You may have initially come to the United States with a visa, only getting the green card after you decided that you wanted to stay indefinitely. This card now gives you permanent resident status so that you don’t have to leave.

Naturally, after doing all of this, you want to avoid making any mistakes that could invalidate your green card. For example, you may be worried that you will be denied re-entry if you leave the United States. The green card is beneficial, but does it essentially mean that you’re now trapped within the country’s borders? Or are there ways that you can leave if you want to travel?

The one-year limit

Traveling usually is not a problem. There’s nothing saying you can’t leave the United States and then re-enter legally with a green card, as long as all of your paperwork is in order. You can travel on a business trip, take a vacation with your family and much more.

The key limit to be aware of is that you may need a re-entry permit if you’re going to be outside of the United States for a year or more. If so, it may be wise to look into getting the proper permit before you leave the country. If you do not have a re-entry permit and you stay outside of the U.S. for more than 12 months, then you may initially be denied entry – making your situation much more complicated.

Of course, immigration law can always get complex. This is why it’s so important to understand exactly what legal options you have.