Having a green card allows you to work and live freely while in the United States. However, there may be some situations where you will have to travel abroad. As such, you may be wondering if there are any restrictions to traveling abroad while on green card status. The United States government allows for a great deal for flexibility to permanent residents who would like to depart from the country for extended periods. In some cases, individuals have stayed out of the country for up to two years. However, there are a few restrictions imposed on the number of visits abroad as well as the amount of time that one can spend outside the United States.
If you would like to travel abroad, you can do without requiring any special documentation for about a year. The only legal document that you will be expected to take with you on the trip is your green card. If you would like to stay abroad for an extended period of time i.e. up to two years, you will have to apply for a Re-entry permit before departing. It should be noted that you should carry this permit as well while on your travels.
As mentioned earlier, there are certain restrictions imposed on the number of visits that one can make. If, for instance, an individual makes yearly visits abroad on a successive basis, their green card may be revoked on re-entry to the United States. In such cases, the immigration department will have to evaluate whether you are really staying in the United States or just a visitor who has a green card and makes regular stops in the country.
If you are intending to apply for United States citizenship after receiving your green card, then you should avoid any trips abroad that are longer than 6 months in your five year qualifying period. If you make any trips that are longer than this within this five year period, your eligibility to qualify for United States citizenship would be negatively affected. Still, there are exceptions to this restriction. Individuals who are assigned to multinational companies abroad which has a United States branch are such exceptions.
There are certain circumstances which may extend your stay abroad. Medical conditions and other unforeseeable circumstances may extend your 1 year trip or two year trip abroad. If this happens to you, you may wonder if the United States government caters for such circumstances. The United States government does cater for such circumstances and after a thorough scrutiny by the United States consulate in the country where you visited, you may return to the United States after filling out the Returning Resident Visa application.