New Travel Document for Green Card Holders Traveling Outside the US

Starting today, October 24, 2019 US Green Card holders returning to the US after having lived outside the country for a temporary period will be required to carry a new security-enhanced U.S. travel document to be granted entry into the country. While USCIS begins issue of this new travel document today, if you already have a valid travel document for international travel currently, you may continue using it until it’s expiration.

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Resembling a US passport, the new travel document is expected to be a lot more secure and will prevent tampering, counterfeiting, and fraud. This will be achieved by having the following security features –

  • Overt image: That can be seen by the naked eye.
  • Covert feature: Will require a like a tool like a magnifying glass to identify the fine detail.
  • Forensic: Require laboratory examination for further security.

Up until now, US permanent residents who have been issued a green card needed to always carry their green card and depending upon which country you are traveling to also carry a visa in a valid passport. Different scenarios require the following documents when travelling internationally on a green card –

Re-entering after 180-days outside the US

  • Documents supporting employment, business, home, or property in the US;
  • Previous filed Tax Documents
  • Supporting documents showing an existing mailing address, active bank account, and valid US driver’s license.

Re-entering after 365-days outside the US

  • You must apply and carry an approved reentry permit with Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, before leaving the United States.
  • Evidence that you intend to live in the United States permanently
  • Additionally, carry an approved Form N-470, Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes if you are traveling due to a job requirement with the US Government, private sector, or religious organization

Re-entering after two years outside the US

  • Carry an approved Returning Resident Visa (SB-1) available from your nearest US Embassy or Consulate.
  • Evidence that you intend to live in the United States permanently
  • This also has to accompany a biometric and medical exam to be granted entry in to the US.

Stay tuned to this space as USCIS rolls out further details of how to apply for the new travel document.