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If I’m out of status, can I leave the U.S. while my green card application is pending?


An immigration attorney and policy analyst answers your questions

Feb 2, 2022


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) doesn’t explicitly forbid green card applicants from traveling while waiting for their adjustment of status application to be processed. However, it is up to the discretion of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer to allow or deny the individual’s re-entry into the United States. Additionally, if a decision is made on the case while the applicant is outside the country, that can make it extremely difficult to re-enter the country and get an immigration case back on track.

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For someone who fell out of immigration status or is otherwise undocumented and waiting for a green card application to be approved, it is generally best for to wait until they receive their green card before leaving the United States, especially during the pandemic when travel restrictions and border closures happen suddenly and unexpectedly.

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