Many legal U.S. residents need to travel abroad for work or personal reasons. Legal Permanent Residents (LPR), also called green card holders, are allowed to travel abroad and upon return provide a green card to show his or her legal permanent residence status.
According to USCIS,
Lawful permanent residents are free to travel outside the United States, and temporary or brief travel usually does not affect your lawful permanent resident status. To travel to a foreign country, you will need to present a passport and your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card).
Different travel permits and documentation are required, depending on if green card holders travel internationally for a short trip or if they take an extended trip abroad.
A green card is considered a travel identification document that verifies you are legally eligible to enter and stay in the United States. When you leave the United States to travel for a short-term or long-term, you must have a valid green card and other required documentation to re-enter the U.S. and not jeopardize your immigration status.
1. Short-Term Travel
Green card holders who plan to take a short vacation, business or personal trip abroad must ensure that their documents are in order and current:
• unexpired green card
• identification documents are current and accurate, ie correct addresses, marriage certificates, etc.
2. Long-Term Travel
LPRs who plan to travel outside of the United States for over 1 year must apply for the appropriate travel document:
• Refugee Travel Document:
A refugee travel document is issued to someone who has been granted refugee or asylum status, or to a permanent resident who obtained a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) because they were a refugee or asylee. If you hold refugee or asylee status and are not a permanent resident, you must have a refugee travel document to return to the United States.
• Re-Entry Permit:
A re-entry permit allows a lawful permanent resident or conditional permanent resident to apply for admission to the United States after returning from abroad during the permit’s validity, without having to obtain a returning resident visa from a U.S. Embassy or consulate.