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My green card was approved but I have not received it yet. Can I travel?

A woman travelling the world

Many foreign nationals wait for years to get their green card approval. Sometimes this means they are not able to travel outside the U.S. for long periods of time. Once the green card is approved, many foreign nationals are eager to travel internationally on vacation, or to visit friends and family. The timeline for receiving the physical green card after the approval can vary from a couple weeks to a few months.

What are the options if someone needs to travel outside the U.S. and the green card has not arrived yet?

  • As a first step, the foreign national should check the USCIS case status website and/or their USCIS online account to see if the card has been produced and mailed yet. If more than 30 days have passed since the approval, it is possible to submit an e-request through the USCIS website inquiring about the green card.
  • If the foreign national has the approval notice or other proof of the approval, they can also make an Infopass appointment at their local field office and ask the immigration officer to put an I-551 stamp in the passport. The I-551 stamp is proof that the foreign national is a legal permanent resident and this can be used for international travel.
  • If the foreign national cannot get the green card or the I-551 stamp, they may need to rebook their travel. Even if they have a valid visa stamp in their passport, such as an H-1B, they should not travel using that visa.

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