Can I travel overseas on a conditional Green Card?
Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in St. Louis, San Diego, and Washington, D.C. In this video we’re going to talk about that conditional Green Card. So the conditional Green Card is the one that you get if you got your Green Card based on marriage, and if you were married less than two years when your Green Card was approved. So in those scenarios, you will receive a two-year conditional Green Card. It’s a conditional residence. What that means is that at the end of those two years, you’re going to need to file an I-751 and to get those conditions removed.
One of our YouTube commenters was wondering, “Is it okay to travel overseas with a conditional Green Card?” Here’s what you need to remember. I say this a lot on our videos, but when you get your conditional Green Card, you are a full lawful permanent resident. You have all the rights and privileges of a lawful permanent resident. You just have to make sure to get the conditions removed at the end of the two years. As long as you’re still married, or even if you’re not, it’s a relatively straightforward process, where you just have to basically prove that the marriage was legit and that you didn’t get married just to get an immigration benefit.
Because you have all the rights and privileges of a regular Green Card holder, as a conditional Green Card holder you can travel overseas. You want to make sure that you bring your Green Card with you, that you keep it in a safe place, that you bring your passport, and that the passport is not about to expire. Sometimes people get in trouble if they leave the country on a conditional Green Card or any kind of Green Card, and then try to re-enter with an expired passport. That’s a problem.
But travel in and of itself is just fine. You can make sure that if you’re getting close to the I-751 time, in other words, if your Green Card is coming to an end and when you file for that I-751, they will give you an extension letter. They’re taking so damn long to process the I-751s that they’re giving out these extension letters, which automatically extend your Green Card, your conditional Green Card.
In that scenario, you would take your passport, your conditional Green Card and your automatic extension letter, which is your receipt letter, to show the customs official that you did in fact file for removal of conditions and that you’re just waiting for USCIS to complete that process. Again, free to travel outside of the United States.
Now, of course, with COVID and things, we saw a lot of people get stuck outside of the United States. Hopefully those days are behind us for now. But you always need to keep that in mind and that you don’t want to be outside of the United States for more than six months. Because just like you have all the rights of lawful permanent residence as a CPR, you also have all the responsibilities. One of those is not to stay outside of the United States for more than six months, because you can lose that Green Card if you stay out for more than six months. If you’re going to have that kind of a scenario, you might want to file for a re-entry permit.
If you have questions about conditional residence or about getting the conditions removed, or anything related to the Green Card process, feel free to give us a call on 314-961-8200. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or our new email address email@example.com. I’ve got to start practicing saying that. On our YouTube channel, you can subscribe and get alerted whenever we post a new video, which is at least once a day. And we’d love to have you join us on Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon Central Time when I’m answering as many of your immigration law-related questions as possible. We’d love to see you there.
Thanks a lot and have a great day.