A lawful permanent resident (LPR) normally may travel outside the United States and return; however, there are some limitations. A Re Entry Permit can help prevent two types of problems:
- Your Permanent Resident Card (green card) becomes technically invalid for reentry into the United States if you are absent from the United States for one year or more.
- Your U.S. permanent residence may be considered as abandoned for absences shorter than one year if you take up residence in another country.
A Re Entry Permit establishes that you did not intend to abandon status, and it allows you to apply for admission to the United States after traveling abroad for up to two years without having to obtain a returning resident visa. Re Entry Permits are normally valid for two years from the date of issuance.
You may also want to get a Re Entry Permit if you plan on traveling outside the United States and cannot or do not wish to get a passport from your home country. Many countries throughout the world may allow you to use a Re Entry Permit much like you would use a passport—placing necessary visas and entry and exit stamps in the permit—so you may use it as your main travel document. Be sure to check with any country you plan to visit about specific requirements before you travel.