Earlier this week, our blog began discussing how even though international travel is now easier than ever thanks to lower airfare and the proliferation of airline routes, those with lawful permanent resident -- or LPR -- status must nevertheless proceed with caution if planning a prolonged journey abroad.
Specifically, we discussed how there are special considerations that individuals with LPR status must take into account when attempting to reenter the U.S., and how the number and degree of these special considerations depends largely upon whether they will be absent from the country for less or more than one year.
Absent more than one year
Those individuals seeking to renter the U.S. after more than a year in length and with the intention of returning to their unrelinquished LPR status will be unable to present officials with their Alien Registration Receipt Card (i.e., Green Card) as a travel document.
However, they do have the option of presenting a reentry permit. This document, which is applied for prior to departing from the U.S. and while the applicant is still physically present here, demonstrates that 1) they have valid LPR status, 2) they intend to depart the country only temporarily and return, and 3) they are not departing for a reason contrary to U.S. interests.
While possession of a valid reentry permit enables a person to remain abroad for up to 24 months, it is also no guarantee of their ability to reenter the U.S.
In the event a person has been outside for the country for more than a year and is somehow unable to produce a Green Card, reentry permit or other immigrant visa, it is possible to apply for a waiver of the document requirement provided good cause can be shown for this failure to provide the necessary documentation.
Whether you have questions about this waiver, a reentry permit or any other immigration-related matter, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional who can explain the law and guide you through the process.