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Can Green Card Holders with a Record Travel Out of the U.S.? 

Corbaci Law, P.C. Jan. 18, 2023

Airplane Flying Against American FlagAs a green card holder, you may have questions about whether or not it is safe to travel outside the United States if you have a criminal record. The answer depends on the severity of your conviction and the country you are planning to visit. It is strongly advised to speak with an attorney about your individual case before making any plans for international travel. 

Our immigration attorneys at Corbaci Law, P.C., can address your questions regarding international travel if you are a green card holder. We can help guide you through the process and ensure that all necessary paperwork is completed properly before attempting to leave the U.S. while holding a green card with a criminal record attached. With offices in Marlborough and Woburn, Massachusetts, we serve the needs of immigrants and green card holders throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, including Framingham and Boston.  

Can I Travel Outside the U.S. If I’m a Green Card Holder But I Have a Conviction?  

Traveling abroad can be an exciting experience, but for green card holders with a criminal record, there are additional considerations when planning international trips. 

Your best bet is to research each country’s laws regarding entry with a criminal conviction before making any plans to leave the U.S. with a criminal record. If in doubt, speak with an immigration attorney who can provide more detailed information about your specific case. You should also consider completing all necessary paperwork in advance so that your application for re-entry will be processed quickly and efficiently upon arrival back in the United States.  

Finally, it’s important to remember that people make the mistake of thinking that because they got away with it once, they are safe to do it again. That isn’t necessarily true. Always consult with an immigration attorney prior to traveling abroad if there is any concern about criminal convictions on your record.   

What Can Happen?  

The consequences of traveling abroad with a criminal conviction can be serious and should not be taken lightly. Depending on where you plan to travel, you could face significant delays in processing, deportation, and even arrest upon re-entry into the United States. In addition, some countries may refuse entry based solely on the fact that you have a criminal record—even if it is a minor offense such as DUI or shoplifting. Even if you can leave the U.S., you may be deemed inadmissible to return to the U.S. when attempting to re-enter the country.  

Can the Court Grant You Permission to Travel With a Conviction?  

If you are a green card holder who has been convicted of an offense that could lead to deportation, then it is possible to ask the court for permission to travel outside of the U.S., but it is not guaranteed. You may be able to receive a waiver or relief in removal proceedings for that offense, depending on your individual circumstances and the nature of your crime. However, if you leave without permission from the court, your green card will automatically be considered abandoned, and you may not be allowed back into the country. 

What May Make Me Inadmissible for Re-Entry?  

Even if you do receive permission from the court to travel outside of the U.S., there are certain factors that could make you inadmissible for re-entry into this country if you leave as a green card holder. These include but are not limited to:  

  • participating in activities deemed dangerous or irresponsible by U.S. law;  

  • engaging in terrorist activities;  

  • being convicted of drug trafficking offenses;  

  • being convicted of serious crimes such as murder; and  

  • having committed fraud or misrepresentation when applying for entry into this country.  

Additionally, any individuals who have been deported within five years cannot enter without special authorization from USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). 

Speak With an Experienced Attorney  

With careful preparation and attention to detail, green card holders can enjoy their travels without fear of legal repercussions upon re-entry into the country. However, before you leave the U.S., it is essential to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. Reach out to our immigration attorneys at Corbaci Law, P.C., today to discuss your unique case and determine whether or not you can travel outside the U.S. or should stay in the country.