How Long Can a Green Card Holder Stay Outside the United States?

26 May 2010

As a permanent resident or conditional permanent resident you can travel outside the United States for up to 6 months without loosing your green card. Staying outside the United States for more than 6 months but less than one year will subject you to additional questioning when you return to the United States but you are not required to have a Reentry Permit and shouldn’t have any problems getting back in.

If you intend to stay outside the United States for a year or more you will need a Reentry Permit. You apply for the Reentry Permit on Form I-131 Application for Travel Document. You can’t apply for a Reentry Permit while outside the U.S. so make sure you get your I-131 submitted before you leave the country. The Reentry Permit is good for up to 2 years and may not be extended. If you are a conditional permanent resident your reentry permit will expire on the same date you are required to apply for removal of the conditions.

If you do not obtain a Reentry Permit and stay outside the United States for more than one year the USCIS may determine that you have abandoned your permanent or conditional residence status.

Staying outside the United States for a year or more will start the clock over for naturalization. This means that the normal 3-5 year wait to become a naturalized citizen will start over if you are out of the county for more than a year. However you can file a form N-470 Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes the approval of which will preserve the “clock” for naturalization purposes.The application fee for a Reentry Permit is $385 which includes an $80 biometric fee.

4 Thoughts on “How Long Can a Green Card Holder Stay Outside the United States?

  1. I visit first time US in November 2014 as a immigrant with family after getting green card on 10thfeb 2015 i leave US and now april 2017 I’m still outside the us but now i wanna go back to US kindly reply me on my email (suns66128@gmail.com) weather I’m able to go back to US or not or guide me how can i go thanks

  2. Got my green card this year….went out of US for 37 days and came back. Now in December I wish to go out of US for five and a half months approx 175 to 170 days… kess than six months….Can I go fir this duration…will my previous 37 days will be taken in this…

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