Most people ask me, can I travel with a green card and expired passport?
To answer this question, it is pertinent that we need to understand certain terms. A Green card, popularly referred to as a Lawful Permanent Resident Card, gives a person the authority to legally reside and work in the United States without fear of evacuation.
A person possessing a green card is upheld by the US citizenship and immigration services (USCIS) to be a lawful resident and not a trespasser. Furthermore, a possessor of a Green Card is entitled to certain privileges. They are entitled to get social security No., a driver’s license, and even permission to re-enter the United States after leaving its shores.
If truth be told, a Green Cardholder does not require a passport to come to the United States. A Green Card by itself is sufficient proof of its valid residential status. But the point to be noted here is that the green card must be valid.
Do you know the story of Travel Document Number, Passport?
If your green card has expired by any chance, it is best to get it renewed before going abroad. Even better, look out for the expiration date on your green card before boarding an international flight.
By chance, the green card expires before your due date of return; make it your utmost priority to have it renewed as early as possible.
Is a passport essential for foreign travel?
The law of the United States is quite clear regarding the issuance of a passport. It does not issue passports to its lawful permanent residents since the green card is more than sufficient for re-entry.
All very well said and done. But what about the laws that require a person to carry a valid passport while entering a foreign country. To solve this issue, lawful permanent residents must have a passport issued by their home country when traveling globally.
A US passport can only be obtained after being a naturalized citizen.
I-551 stamp and its importance
Lawful permanent residents are encouraged to get an I-551 stamp on their passports for further safety. This stamp is an authenticated piece of evidence regarding the permanent status of the passport holder. It comes in handy in case the Green card is misplaced or expired.
A green card is valid for up to 10 years, whereas an I 551 stamp on a passport lasts for 6-12 months. Thus, as a lawful permanent resident, you can use the passport with the stamp on it to validate its legality.
Requirements for I-551 STAMPS
To get the I 551 stamps, you must convince the USCIS immigration authorities that your green card cannot be found or has been lost. This, however, is a temporary measure. Eventually, you will have to renew your green card or apply for a new one to compensate for the lost one.
The uses of the I 551 stamps are varied. Its working is quite similar to that of a valid green card. It can be used to obtain a driving license, get entry into the USA, and even a work permit.
Consequences of losing a green card
If your green card has been lost or misplaced, and your passport does not bear the necessary I 551 stamp, be sure to fix an appointment with the USCIS. This is very important. If you do not agree to the terms and conditions, you shall not be granted access to US soil.
So two things are needed for a valid re-entry – an unexpired green card or an I 551 stamp. In the absence of either two, you will be forced to spend your time outside the US.
So rather than relying on the mercy and compassion of the USCIS, it is best to get the help of the immigration authority skilled enough to guide you properly. So god is unwilling to take some time off to obtain an I 551 stamp or renew your green card before venturing abroad.
It is generally deemed that lawful permanent residents who fail to return to the US for more than a year have given up on their legal status. In such circumstances, their green card is automatically revoked. To avoid such unforeseen circumstances, make sure to obtain a re-entry permit if you intend to stay outside the US for one year or more.
The re-entry permit is commonly called a white passport. Although it serves the same purpose as a regular passport, it is not a passport but a mere permit.
Anyone who has dreamt of being a naturalized US citizen, discard any plans of spending a year abroad. A white passport may not provide a safeguard in such a situation.
Status of refugees
Refugees need to obtain a refugee travel document before taking an international flight. This refugee travel document works as a passport. It guarantees a safe passage for the refugees upon their return.
So, we can safely conclude that you are at liberty to venture outside the US as a permanent resident of the United States. You have to carry your green card, a passport, and the appropriate visa to do so freely.
Although a passport is not mandatory for permanent residents, foreign countries insist on a passport. But if you incur any difficulty procuring a passport, use a re-entry permit instead.
People Also Ask For
What documents should I carry to go outside the United States?
You must carry the passport of the country of your origin along with the Refugee travel document. Furthermore, the country you are traveling to may ask you to procure a visa.
What documents are required to re-enter the United States after returning from a trip abroad?
An unexpired green card is mandatory. This valuable document is required to be presented at the port of entry. Apart from this, a passport and a US driver’s license are equally important.
Will absenteeism from the USA for more than a year affect my permanent residency?
If you decide to be away from the USA for more than a year, it is best to obtain a re-entry permit. This permit allows the person to re-enter the USA. However, this is not a guarantee by itself. But will assist you in establishing your intention to reside in the USA permanently.
What happens if a person misplaces a green card or reentry permit?
In case of any unforeseen circumstances, they will have to fill up from I -131A an application for travel documents. This document allows the person to board a flight bound for the USA without prosecuting the airline