As a conditional resident, you are free to travel abroad. But there are some things you should understand when traveling outside the U.S. before your Form I-751 petition has been approved.
After a conditional green card has expired and before your new 10-year green card arrives, it's necessary for a conditional resident to carry the following items when traveling abroad:
- Valid, unexpired passport
- Expired conditional green card
- Valid, unexpired I-797, Notice of Action
USCIS will mail you the I-797, Notice of Action, after filing Form I-751. It's a receipt letter that should also state that your conditional residence has been extended (typically for one year). However, it may take USCIS several weeks to send the letter.
The “grounds of inadmissibility” apply, just as they do for any permanent resident seeking to enter the U.S. So do not leave the U.S. if you have outstanding issues (i.e. criminal offenses) that could make you inadmissible.
It's recommend by most immigration attorneys that you do not take lengthy trips outside the United States while Form I-751 is being adjudicated. If the I-751 petition is denied while you are abroad, you may not be able to re-enter the U.S. and may be referred to an Immigration Judge for a removal hearing.
If you plan to live abroad temporarily , consider obtaining a re-entry permit. This will help you to avoid a determination by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer that you have abandoned your conditional residence.