One advantage of having a Green Card is the ability to travel abroad. However, if you were to spend over 12 months abroad the U.S. can revoke your Green Card status. To avoid this problem, you can obtain a re-entry permit before leaving the U.S.
What is a re-entry permit?
A re-entry permit is a document similar to a passport that permits those with a Green Card to keep their U.S. residency even if they are in another country for up to two years. Re-entry permits can only be obtained within the U.S., so if you anticipate spending an extended time abroad, you will want to get your re-entry permit before leaving the country. To ensure you are not abandoning your U.S. residency, it is important to maintain some substantial contact with the U.S. while abroad, such as keeping in touch with family, filing taxes, remaining employed in the U.S. and maintaining a U.S. mailing address.
How do you obtain a re-entry permit?
Obtaining a re-entry permit starts with filing a I-131 form in the U.S. at least 60 days before you plan to leave the U.S. You must also attend a biometrics appointment. After this, you are permitted to travel abroad. If you do not have your re-entry permit in hand when you leave the U.S., your re-entry permit can be sent to a U.S. consulate or embassy in the nation you are visiting.
Important note on re-entry permits
A re-entry permit is issued to show you are not abandoning your status as a U.S. Green Card holder. However, this is not a guarantee you will be allowed re-entry if the Customs and Border Patrol believes you have abandoned your U.S. residency for another reason. Due to this increased scrutiny, it is important for Green Card holders to start the path