We're entering the season for summer travel for vacation and to visit family and friends! More people have been vaccinated, and travel is more feasible (in some ways) than last summer. However, foreign nationals wanting to travel must plan strategically to make sure they are able to re-enter the US:
If you are not a permanent resident or US citizen:
- Do you have a valid visa stamped in your passport? If not and if you need one, confirm before you leave if you will be able to have the visa stamped while you are outside the US. Many US consulates around the world still have not resumed routine visa services. In some cases, you may qualify for a waiver of the visa interview requirement, but do not assume.
- If you are planning to use advance parole to travel and return to the US, is the advance parole document still valid?
- Likewise, if you have an application for advance parole (I-131) pending with USCIS, it will be denied if you leave the US while it's pending.
- Is your passport valid for at the duration of your anticipated stay in the US? If you enter the US with a valid passport, but the passport will expire before the end of your anticipated stay in the US, CBP will make your I-94 expiration match your passport expiration.
- If your status requires a valid petition, will you need to renew the petition before you re-enter the US (check with your employer and your immigration lawyer!)?
- Are there Covid-related travel restrictions for foreign nationals re-entering the US from the country that you plan to visit? Remember that the "travel ban" is still in place for the Schengen Area, Brazil, South Africa, and now India.
- Do you anticipate needing to be in the US in the near future for a biometrics appointment, or possibly to file the I-485 application if your priority date becomes current?
If you are a green card holder:
- For how long will you be outside the US? Do you need to file a re-entry permit before you leave the US?
- Do you have the documentation you need to re-enter the US?
- Do you need a visa for the country or countries you will visit?
- What are the Covid-related travel restrictions for that country?
- You must have a negative Covid test to return to the US by air.
Plan ahead, and safe travels!
If you need help navigating the immigration or naturalization process with confidence, please contact us today to get the process underway! We are immigration lawyers in Richmond, VA but we serve clients throughout the US and around the world. You can call us at 804-396-3412 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!