Temporary Green Card Travel Restrictions

Temporary Green Card Travel Restrictions

Every country in the world has a system to recognize its citizens. However, at times, citizens of other countries want to make a particular country their permanent residences owing to their professional or personal commitments. In such a case, such individuals need to follow certain guidelines and regulations of the country they want to make their permanent residences in order to become a citizen of such a country. In USA, the immigrants willing to become a citizen need to obtain a Green Card. A Green Card is literally an immigration process of becoming a permanent resident of USA. Green Card, in a way, legally proves that the holder has been officially granted immigration benefits in the USA which also includes permission to reside and take employment in the United States.

What is a Temporary Green Card?

Green Card or a Permanent Resident Card is issued to all the permanent residents of USA which serves as a proof that the holder of the card is authorized to live and work in the United States. If a resident of USA is a permanent resident and is of 18 years of age or more, the residents strictly need to have a valid Green Card in their possession at all times.

At times, a conditional permanent resident status is granted to some people. These people thus get a Temporary Green Card. Such a Temporary Green Card is valid for only two years. In case the resident of USA would like to remain a permanent resident of the country, he or she needs to file a petition to remove the condition (conditional permanent resident status) during the 90 days period before the Temporary Green Card expires. Temporary Green Cards cannot be renewed under any given circumstances.

Who Will Get Temporary Green Card?

Temporary Green Card is issued to someone who is getting married to a US Citizen in order to check whether such marriages are real marriages or just a planned move to get a Green Card. In case a foreign national is married to a U.S. citizen spouse for less than two years, and such individual either arrive in the United States on an immigrant visa or is approved for a green card (adjustment of status), the individual would start living in America as a conditional and not a permanent resident initially.

Temporary Green Card Travel Restrictions

In the literal sense, a conditional resident has almost the same rights as a permanent resident. In terms of travel, the individual can travel in and out of the U.S. and can travel wherever and however they like. However, being a conditional permanent resident of USA, their movements too would have certain conditions or limitations, especially in terms of extended stays.

In fact, both the conditional and permanent residents need to follow certain guidelines related to travel since they can become “inadmissible” by spending too much time outside the United States or by giving up their home base in the US. Under such circumstances, even the permanent resident can lose his/her green card. Interestingly, under such circumstances, the individual, with any such trip, can be barred upon return if in case the US administration finds the individual "inadmissible".

In case of people with conditional resident status based on their marriage to a US citizen, in case the individual spends a long time outside the United States while the U.S. spouse stays behind in US, it becomes difficult to justify the condition of converting the individual from conditional to permanent resident status and especially that the marriage between the two individual is the real thing.

Such travel restrictions come in the light of various frauds and misdeeds observed by the US administration which wants to ensure that the individuals applying for a Green Card would actually live and make USA their permanent residences and not merely enjoy being its resident from a distance.

According to the Green Card travel rules and under the abandonment of residences scheme in case a US Green Card holder (both permanent or Temporary) go out of USA with the intention of establishing a residence elsewhere, the individual might lose his/her right to a Green Card. Usually, trips lasting for less than six months rarely attract many queries. However, trips lasting longer than six months can be subjected to certain probe and queries upon arrival in the US. Thus valid and justifiable documentary evidence (such as valid medical reports or death certificates in case of death of close relatives) supporting such long periods of staying away from USA needs to be kept handy in order to justify the claims.

Though individuals can travel out of USA with the conditional green card, Complications are manifold in case of individuals enjoying conditional Green Card Status on the basis of marriage. This is primarily because such individuals, at the end of the two years, need to prove and justify to the US immigration authorities that their marriage to their US spouses is intact and bonafide. This can be done by submitting proofs of staying and living together, sharing financial accounts, or had children out of such marriages. But in case the individual with Temporary Green Card is staying away from US and his/her spouse for a considerable period of time, the individual needs to submit proofs of the ongoing marital relationship all the more. Such proofs can be making phone calls to each other, visiting each other often, setting up joint investment and retirement accounts, having children together, having common or joint savings account for household expenses.

Therefore a conditional resident with the stamp I-551 proving their temporary evidence of permanent resident status can travel with certain conditions though. Such a stamp is valid for a year only.

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