So I submitted my green card renewal form a while ago but haven't heard back yet. Unfortunately I have to leave the country on an emergency, and my green card expired just two weeks ago... I know that to get back to the US I would need a transportation letter from the local consulate - but I am concerned that they would not let me board my flight to go to Hong Kong in the first place.
Anyone have any experiences on *leaving* the country with an expired green card (but valid non-US passport?)
My guess is that I don't know if the have good reason to keep me in the US - after all I can simply drive up to Canada and hop on a flight to Hong Kong and the US wouldn't even know until I return.. and I have other forms of valid ID (Say, a DL or whatever).. but I wanted to make sure so I'm not surprised sitting at JFK...
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you can leave the country without a problem.
Did USCIS send you a receipt notice for the green card renewel? I know for some in my family they got the receipt and they could enter with the expired green card and that receipt letter.
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I haven't even received that yet. It's been over a month and USCIS is still processing it I guess.. if I had the receipt I would guess that leaving is not a problem.. but I can't get a stamp on my passport until I go to my biometrics appointment - whenever that will be...
Well I know if I leave for more than a year or whatever I need a reentry permit and so forth, but I'm only going to leave for a few weeks - and either way I have no problems about coming back - just leaving.
My concern would be more with getting back into the country than leaving. If you haven't heard back do you even know the application was received? Things do get lost in the mail or some clerk at the USCIS could have misplaced it. You never know.
My advice would be to call the USCIS and get a confirmation of your application. Or better yet if you can, go to a USCIS office today (since you're leaving tomorrow) and get something in writing that you sent in the application.
to get me back to the United States. But of course, this is only good if I am there..... USCIS wasn't particularly helpful when I called them today - they told me that the airline has the right to check my travel documents, but that's all. As far as I know, the GC isn't even a travel document - my passport is.
cyby, why don't you schedule an InfoPASS appointment with the USCIS and get a temporary I-551 stamp in your passport? It is usually valid for 6 months in case of GC renewal. It may require some level of persuasion on your side since you don't have an I-90 receipt notice, but it's not your fault that they did not send it on-time to you. I am pretty sure that they should have your I-90 in the system if you sent it a month ago.
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Originally Posted by cyby
... USCIS wasn't particularly helpful when I called them today - they told me that the airline has the right to check my travel documents, but that's all. As far as I know, the GC isn't even a travel document - my passport is.
They gave you good advice though you may not like it. Here are the rules: your green card is a travel document. CX can refuse to carry you if you don't have a valid green card or visa or equivalent. All airlines are required to do this, as part of the security check, and you may be flagged as a potential terrorist with "invalid" documents. I don't know the current rules, but a few years ago one of the restrictions when applying for extension of a green card is that travel outside the US was prohibited except with written permission in advance of leaving the US from what is now USCIS. If you leave, your request for extension was automatically denied and the green card cancelled. You can start the application process again from scratch (there wasn't a ban), but with no special advantage from having a green card in the past.
So, this is a big decision for you, with some large consequences if you don't know for sure what happens when you leave the US. If you can't get clear answers, consulting an immigration lawyer might be a good investment.