The global pandemic has been going on for more than a year. To stop the spread of the virus, the government is still maintaining the travel restrictions implemented last year in mid-March. This is exceptionally difficult for many US permanent residents, Green Card holders and conditional permanent residents who have been stuck overseas. This prolonged period of staying abroad also affects their ability to maintain their permanent residence and apply for US citizenship later on.
It is advised to have a proper plan to return to the US after a prolonged trip overseas. Permanent residents should not expect any sympathy or leniency from the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
How Can a Permanent Resident Re-enter the US After a Long Trip Abroad?
It recommended to have the following documents ready to present to a CBP official when reentering the US after a long trip abroad:
- Proof of filing income tax returns
- Proof of employment in the US
- Proof of bank account in the US
- Proof of a house on lease in the US
- Proof of family members living in the US
- Proof that the departure was temporary with a returning ticket
- Proof that the returning ticket was canceled due to Covid-19 restrictions
- Proof that you were unable to get a return ticket due to Covid-19 restrictions
- Proof that you were unable to return because you tested positive for Covid-19
- Proof that you hadn’t abandoned your residency
In the end, it's up to the CBP official to decide whether or not you will be allowed to enter the US or your green card will be confiscated and your case referred to the immigration court. If it has been more than 1 year since you were absent from the US and you have abandoned your residency, then you must contact your nearest US embassy or consulate to seek permission.