Lawful permanent residents of the United States are usually allowed to leave the country and come back. However, some limitations may apply. This is why all lawful permanent residents may want to apply for a re-entry permit, as it will ensure that they can come back into the U.S. once they've left.
There are a couple of problems that could arise after coming back to the United States, and a re-entry permit will avoid these problems:
- A Permanent Residency Card will not be valid for re-entry if an individual stays over a year outside of the United States.
- If you begin residing in a different country, it could invalidate your permanent residency in the United States -- even if you have been absent from the United States for less than a year.
Obtaining a re-entry permit will establish that you don't plan on abandoning your permanent residency status. It usually allows for you to travel for as many as two years away from the United States without the need to apply for a returning resident visa. Your re-entry permit will usually stay valid for a period of two years following its issuance.
A re-entry permit is also useful for traveling to other countries if you don't have a passport for your home country. Many countries around the world will accept your U.S. re-entry permit instead of the passport from your home country and it makes for an excellent travel document in many cases. Just check with the country you plan to visit beforehand to ensure that it will accept this form of travel document.
Do you need a U.S. re-entry visa? You may want to learn a little bit more about U.S. immigration law and how it applies to your unique circumstance before you apply for this vital travel document.
Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "I am a permanent resident: How do I get a reentry permit?," accessed May 02, 2018