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 losing 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.

Disclaimer: The contents of this post were accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of publishing. Immigration is constantly changing, and old information often becomes outdated, including procedures, timelines, prices, and more. Take note of the publish date. For archival purposes, these posts will remain published, even if new information renders them obsolete. Do not make important life decisions based on this content. No part of this post should be considered legal advice, as RapidVisa is not a law firm. This content is provided free of charge for informational purposes only. If anything herein conflicts with an official government website, the official government website shall prevail.

23 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 ( weather I’m able to go back to US or not or guide me how can i go thanks

  2. My father is a retired security guard in u.s and now living in the Philippines for 11-12 years now But still receiving his social benefits from SSA. He is now 79 years old. My question is, is there any chance for him to go back to u.s and petition us his children? Please help. Thank you so much!!

    Ps: his green card obviously its expired and lost his passport.

  3. 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…

  4. I have a son who is 4years outside the us,,he has everything,,,he is a green card holerder ,permanent resident,,,he went through some issues while there,,which lead to his overstay,,,issues are not with the law,,,he wants to come back ,,,how can he reenter ,,,

  5. My daughter was just issued her green card, when should she leave her current residing country for the US? Need guidance please.

  6. I have a green card, but failed to apply for a renetry permit before i travelled back in the PH. Ive been staying here for almost 5 years now. What do i need to do to be able to go back? Or i have to.apply for another visa?

  7. Hello, i got the greencard on 2016 and i got the permit that can let me for two years outside usa, so can i apply for this permit another time,i mean to stay out of usa for another 2 years, and if possible, shouldi renew it in usa or i can in my country.

  8. I and my husband plan to move in the Philippines for a year. And I am 2 years green card holder. You guys have a idea to help me out.

  9. hello, i got my greencard a year before. Now, i want to go other country for 10 months to jandel by bussiness. So, will there be any complication or problem with my green card if i stay for 10months outside a country? Do i have to go through legal processes?

  10. My sister is a permanent resident in US and wants to go back to philippines to do internship for a year and come back to US again, does she only need a re entry permit?

  11. Hello my mother is green card holder she went from America 2015 for her both knees surgery now she wants to come back America her green card will expire 28 march 2019
    Please can you guide me is there any possibility she will come back here andwhat is the procedure
    . She went here only for medical reasons because her knees replacement .

  12. Hello, me and my husband plan to apply for spousal Visa. If possible I can get my greencard, is it possible I can come back here in Philippines after one month staying in USA? Need info. Thank you 🙂

  13. My family all holder green cards but my wife and 4 kids due to my parents are need argent take care stay more then 1 year of USA and I want retake back my family it’s no problems?

  14. I have a 14 yr old daughter she have a 10 year green card.. we got here in usa June 2017 .. due to marital conflict me And my husband got into fight.. arguments .. he is abusive hurting me physical mental and verbal abuse.. we did left him twice ..last year june 1 2018 we run off and go back to philippines.. After a month me and my husband wanna try to work out our marriage.. so I decided to leave my daughter( not his daughter I am the legal guardian ) to my mom.. and told them we will get her back to usa when everything went good between me and my husband…but things didn’t went good. We always fight and he also burn my PASSPORT GREEN CARD AND SSN CARD. and my philippines id while in at work.. so I run off and leave again because he never change at all.. now my daughter will be overstayed this June.. What do i need to do to get her back.. thank you

  15. My dad is a permanent resident / greencard holder. But he is outside the US for a year now because he got sick and undergone two major surgeries. Because of overstaying outside the US, he will be denied to enter back to US again. What can we do so he can enter the US again?

  16. I lost my green card which was for 2yr. I got it through my husband. And my renewel date is near will this be harmful for my renewal greencard.

  17. I would like to know that me and my wife are green card holder and it is valid upto 2021, we left US more than five years ago could not go back due to some family and health issues. Now we got over the issues and would like to return to US, can we go back or there is any procedure we have to go through in order to go back without any problems. I would really appreciate your help and guide line in this regard. Looking forward to hear from you soon. Thanks & Rgds.

  18. I got green card on 17th November 2018 and left USA on 23rd February 2019.Return back to USA on 17th April 2019.Now again leaving USA on 19th September 2019 .I will come back on 28th February 2020 .Will my green card hold good.

  19. I am Resident allien USA.To become citizen of USA how much period I have to stay in USA continuously or in parts .

  20. My Mom is a permanent resident / greencard holder. But she has been outside the US for about 3 years now because she got sick and my dad died too. Because of overstaying outside the US, she want to come back now to US again. What can we do so she can enter the US again?

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