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I just received a green card. Do I need to keep track of all my international trips?

By February 22, 2021Immigration
Creative Commons photo by Wilerson S. Andrade - labeled for reuse. https://www.flickr.com/photos/will_spark/8603567984

A “green card” or permanent resident card is a document that shows a that a person can stay in the U.S. and work here in almost any capacity. One is eligible to apply for permanent residence/green card through certain family relationships, a job offer or employment that meets certain criteria, refugee or asylum claims, or other special provisions. In some cases, you may be able to self-petition. You should make sure that you maintain your green card and that you do not accidentally loose or abandon your green card. Please see our blog post on how to maintain your green card when you click here and here.

You can apply for a U.S. citizenship 5 years after you received your green card or 3 years (if you received the green card based on a marriage to a U.S. citizen).

Why should I keep track of all my international trips?

When you receive your green card, you should start logging in all your international trips you take immediately (the date you leave the U.S., the date you return to the U.S., and list countries you visited on the trip).

The reasons why you should start doing this as soon as possible is, that when you will be applying for a U.S. citizenship, you will have to provide a list of all the trips you took in the past 5 years (you will have to list any trip that was 24 hours or longer). The sooner you will start keeping track of this the better, as many clients have a hard time to list all international trips in the past 5 years if they have not been keeping track.

You should not be relying on the fact that you can check your I-94 travel history online, as once you become a green card holder, you are not issued an I-94.

Please see the requirements you will have to meet to apply for a U.S. citizenship when you click here.

Please see our blog post on How you should prepare for the naturalization interview when you click here

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