Question from Isaac, Can DV Lottery Winners Travel Before Green Card Issuance?
Answer from AI:
If you are a Diversity Visa (DV) lottery winner and have entered the United States, you may have concerns about traveling internationally before your green card is processed. Here are some general guidelines to consider:
Understanding Your Status
Upon entering the U.S. with your DV visa, you became a lawful permanent resident in the eyes of the law. This status allows you to live and work permanently in the United States. However, the physical green card, which is proof of your status, may take some time to process and be mailed to you.
Traveling outside the U.S. without the physical green card can be risky, as you need proof of your permanent resident status to re-enter the country. Here are some steps and considerations:
- Advance Parole Document: Typically, individuals waiting for their green card might apply for an Advance Parole document that allows them to travel and return to the U.S. without jeopardizing their status. However, as a DV lottery winner who has already been granted lawful permanent resident status, Advance Parole is not applicable to your situation.
- Re-entry Permit: This is generally for permanent residents who plan to be outside the U.S. for an extended period (more than a year). For a short trip of one week, this would not be necessary.
- Boarding Foil: If you leave the U.S. without your green card, you may need to visit a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad to obtain a boarding foil (formerly known as a transportation letter) to allow you to return to the U.S.
- Proof of Status: It is crucial to carry evidence of your lawful permanent resident status when traveling. This can include your passport with the DV visa and the stamp you received upon entry, which serves as a temporary I-551 (proof of permanent residence) for one year.
Recommendations Before Travel
- Contact U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or consult with an immigration attorney to discuss your specific situation before making travel plans.
- Ensure you have all necessary documents and understand the risks of traveling without the physical green card.
- Consider waiting for your green card to arrive if your travel is not urgent, as this will provide the most secure proof of your status upon re-entry to the U.S.
Legal Advice and Resources
It is important to note that immigration laws and regulations can be complex and subject to change. For personalized advice, it is recommended that you consult with a legal professional who specializes in immigration law. They can provide guidance based on the most current laws and your individual circumstances.
For more information on travel as a permanent resident, you can visit the USCIS page on international travel as a permanent resident.
Remember, while general guidelines can be helpful, they cannot replace personalized legal advice. Always consult with an immigration attorney before making decisions that could impact your legal status in the United States.