Around this time of year, we receive several inquiries about traveling internationally, both from recent U.S. Citizens and lawful permanent residents. Many people these days are citizens of more than one country and use different passports to travel at different times to different countries. Please make sure that the passport you intend to travel with satisfies the tips below.
1. Check the validity period of your passport. Many do not double-check if their passport is valid for the duration of their trip and get stuck outside the U.S. for longer than they intended.
2. If your passport expires, please renew your passport with ample time. Current processing times for routine U.S. passport renewals are 8-11 weeks. Expedited processing is 5-7 weeks. There are minimal appointments for individuals needing to expedite the processing in person. Must have international travel within three business days.
3) Make sure that the tickets you purchase are in the exact name of the passport you intend to use, even if this name is different from your permanent resident card. Ensuring that all identification documents reflect your current legal representation and are consistent is vital. If your name is different, you must document the name discrepancy (i.e., a marriage certificate).
4) If you are a lawful permanent resident, it will be essential to take your permanent resident card. You also must make sure that your permanent resident card is valid. If it is not, it is best to file a renewal application online as soon as possible and take the receipt notice with the extension with you.
5) If your permanent resident card is expired and you do not receive your receipt notice before you depart, you will need to schedule an INFOPASS appointment with USCIS by calling 800-375-5283 to place a validity stamp in your passport.
6) If you are traveling with young children, please be sure that they, too, have valid passports and documentation.
7) If you are a mixed-status family, ensure that everyone has the necessary visa to enter the country they are traveling to. As U.S. Citizens, we sometimes forget that it isn’t as easy for individuals from other countries to have different requirements to travel.
8) If you are a lawful permanent resident unless you have filed and been approved for a re-entry permit, please limit your time abroad to six months. Otherwise, a presumption may arise that you permanently reside elsewhere. If you are out for more than six months, take evidence that you maintain a home or residence in the United States and avoid being outside for more than one year. Otherwise, you may be accused of having abandoned your permanent residency.
9) Be sure to make copies of your passports and travel documents if they are lost.
10) Lastly if you are traveling to a country known for having crime or political/social unrest, register with your country’s embassy or consulate to receive assistance in an emergency.