If you are an immigrant living in the United States as a lawful permanent resident, you may still have family and friends whom you wish to visit in your native country, or it may simply be important for you to return to your country of origin occasionally to maintain a connection with your heritage. Fortunately, international travel is often possible for permanent residents, but it is important that you plan accordingly to ensure a smooth reentry and avoid negatively impacting your immigration status or chances of naturalization.
Before traveling outside of the United States, you should make sure that you have all of the necessary documentation for exit and re-entry. This typically includes your passport from the country where you currently have citizenship, or in some cases your refugee travel document, as well as your Green Card and any travel visas required by the country to which you are traveling.
You should also be aware of any travel restrictions affecting your destination. The U.S. and countries throughout the world may restrict incoming or outgoing travel from certain locations, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it may be best to wait to plan a trip until a time of greater stability and lower health risks.
Under normal circumstances, permanent residents can usually travel internationally for shorter periods of time without harming their immigration status. However, travel outside of the U.S. for longer than six months can interrupt your continuous residency, which can significantly delay your naturalization.
Absences from the United States for one year or longer can affect both your eligibility for naturalization and your permanent resident status if U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services believes that you have abandoned your attempt to make the U.S. your home. In order to preserve your status, you may need to apply for a reentry permit, a returning resident visa, or a preservation of residence for naturalization purposes. Demonstrating that you still have strong family and employment ties to the U.S. can also help your case if extended travel is necessary.
Whenever you are planning for international travel, the immigration attorneys at Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices can advise you on the possible impact on your status and help you apply for visas, permits, or any other necessary documents. We understand that travel may be necessary, and we will do all that we can to help you avoid undue hardship as a result. Contact an Illinois immigration attorney today at 630-755-6426 to request a free consultation.
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