If you’re currently residing in the United States, waiting for your Green Card to be processed, you may be curious if you're allowed to leave the country. The Green Card process is complex and can take several months. During this time, you may wish to travel outside of the United States, visit other countries, or maybe travel back home to visit family. However, things may not be that straightforward. Keep reading to find out what factors you should take into consideration.
First, let’s take a look at ways you can apply for a Green Card, also known as a Permanent Resident Card. One way to do it is outside of the United States, through Consular processing. On the other hand, if you’re applying from the United States, you opt for adjustment of status. Since the process can take a while, it is best to submit a proper application with the necessary documents the first time, so you avoid any delays.
When it comes to exiting the country while waiting for your Green Card, you can do it at your own risk. After you submit the adjustment of status application, you no longer have the visa status that you entered the U.S. on. The only way you can travel is if you receive a travel authorization document, known as an advance parole document. You need to submit Form I-131 and wait for the approval. The USCIS will issue this document only to certain applicants so they can re-enter the country
The expedited advance parole document can be issued only in case of emergencies. Note that you need to have a legitimate reason to request an expedited advance parole document. The emergencies include death or serious illness of a relative. If you leave the United States without an advance parole document, your application will be considered abandoned. Still, even with this document, there is no guarantee that you will be able to re-enter the county.
Another issue that may emerge is the fingerprinting appointment. The USCIS schedules the appointment for you, but you cannot predict the exact date. As for the interview, you cannot be sure when exactly it will be scheduled either. Worst case scenario, you may be outside of the United States which could complicate things for you.
At the end of the day, it is up to you to decide whether you will wait for your Green Card before you travel out of the country or not. If you don't need to travel internationally, you should delay your trip. Either way, you can always reach out to us for advice. VisaExpress consultants are available 24/7 for any questions you may have.
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