Which Countries Can You Visit With a Green Card?
At a Glance: U.S. green card holders can travel to over 170 countries without needing a visa. Most countries will first consider your passport, not your green card. However, passport and green card together with your visa are necessary before entering the country.
A U.S. green card grants you many benefits and privileges, such as being able to work and live in the U.S. permanently. One of the great additional benefits not often talked about is that you can, similar to U.S. citizens, also travel to certain countries without having to apply for a visa first.
Table of Contents
Can Green Card Holders Travel Abroad Without a Visa?
American citizens can travel to over 170 countries worldwide without needing a visa. Many of these countries extend the same benefits to U.S. green card holders. The question is, which countries can you visit with a green card without a visa?
There are numerous countries U.S. green card holders can visit without needing a visa. Unfortunately, this doesn’t include all the countries that allow U.S. citizens to travel without a visa, but there are still a few. The country you are going to must have extended the same rights to lawful permanent residents of the U.S.
If you are wondering whether the country you are traveling to has extended the same privileges, take a look at the country’s visa policy. Most countries will first consider your passport (i.e., your nationality) over your green card. If you generally need a visa to travel to a country based on your passport, you will also need a visa to go to that country despite having a green card.
Still, some countries allow U.S. green card holders to visit without a visa.
Which Countries Can Green Card Holders Visit Without a Visa
So, which countries can you visit with a green card without a visa? Below is a list of the most popular countries:
This isn’t an extensive list, so, again, check the visa policy of the country you are traveling to.
If you are planning to travel to one of the below countries, however, your green card will be sufficient.
Aruba and Curaçao
You can visit any of the islands that make up the Dutch Caribbean without a visa if you have a U.S. green card. This includes Aruba and Curaçao but also includes Bonaire, Saba, St Eustatius, and St Maarten. If you are looking for a bit of sun and sea, these islands are ideal locations.
Keep in mind this doesn’t include the European part of the Netherlands. You will need a Schengen Visa to enter the Netherlands even if you have a U.S. green card.
You can read more about the requirements of entry for the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of Netherlands here.
Your passport won’t be an issue if you are looking for a short trip and want to hop over the border to visit Canada. Everyone who has a U.S. green card can enter Canada without having to apply for a Canadian tourist visa, irrespective of their nationality.
If you are traveling by airplane, you will only need to apply for an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) to enter Canada. You can apply for an eTA online, and it’s really cheap. It only costs $7. When you arrive in Canada, you can present your eTA to the immigration officer together with your passport and green card.
If you are traveling by land, you will only need your passport and green card. You don’t have to apply for an eTA.
Another great country you can visit without getting a visa is Costa Rica. Costa Rica is known for its warm and welcoming people and beautiful beaches, forests, and landscapes.
If you have a U.S. green card, you only need your passport, your green card, and a ticket showing you will leave the country within 30 days of arrival to enter. You don’t need to apply for a Costa Rica visa.
If you want to stay longer than 30 days, however, you will have to apply for your extended stay to be approved at the Office of Migration in Costa Rica.
Georgia is one of the few countries in Europe that will allow U.S. green card holders to visit without a Schengen Visa or a Georgian visa. Like Costa Rica, you only have to show your passport, green card, and return ticket.
Even though Georgia isn’t on top of most people’s bucket lists, it is still a great country to visit. There are mysterious cave cities you can visit as well as Ushguli, Europe’s highest village.
You can stay in Georgia for up to 90 days in a 180-day period without a visa.
Mexico is another American neighbor which you, as a U.S. permanent resident, can visit without a green card. You will only need to show your passport and U.S. green card to enter.
You will, however, still need to get a Mexico Tourist Card. This is different from a visa. You don’t have to go to a Mexican consulate or embassy to apply, and you don’t have to make a formal visa application.
Getting a Mexican Tourist Card is really easy. It is a bit pricier than a Canadian eTA, though. The price ranges from about $25 to $35.
Use one of the following ways to obtain your Mexican Tourist Card:
- If you are traveling by land, you can get your Mexican Tourist Card at your point of entry.
- If you are going by sea, you can get it at a Mexico port of call.
- If you are traveling by airplane, your airline might have already included it in your ticket and will distribute it once the plane arrives. If not, you can get it at an immigration desk after you arrive.
- You can also get your Mexican Tourist Card online. Just remember to print it and bring it along on your trip!
- If all else fails, you can go to a Mexican embassy and get one there.
If you are an Indian or Chinese national with a U.S. green card, you will be able to visit Peru without getting a visa first. If you love archaeology or ancient history, Peru is the place to go. Peru is the home to Machu Picchu and countless other ancient cultures and civilizations.
All you have to present at the entry point is your passport, U.S. green card, and onward flight ticket. If the immigration officials are satisfied, they will issue you a tourist card, which will allow you to stay in Peru for up to 90 days.
Like Peru, you can transit through Singapore for up to 4 days without a visa if you are an Indian or Chinese national with a U.S. green card. If this is the case, you qualify for a Singaporean Visa Free Transit Facility (VFTF). Keep in mind you can only use a VFTV once on your trip. So, you can only use it for either your onwards journey or your return journey.
The following Balkan countries will allow U.S. permanent residents to enter without a visa:
- Albania – you can stay in Albania for up to 90 days in a 180-day period without a visa.
- North Macedonia – you can only visit North Macedonia for a maximum of 15 days without a visa.
- Montenegro – you can enter and pass through Montenegro for up to 30 days without a visa.
The British Virgin Islands
The only thing U.S. green card holders need to enter the British Virgin Islands is proof of accommodation in one of the islands, proof of your return ticket, your passport, and your green card. If you can show this, you can stay in the British Virgin Islands for up to 30 days without a visa.
Can Green Card Holders Travel Abroad without a Passport?
Unfortunately, if you don’t have a passport, you won’t be able to travel internationally on your green card only.
Now you know the answer to which countries you can visit with a green card. If you are planning to travel to any of the above-listed countries and you are a U.S. green card holder, you won’t need to apply for a visa before you go. Remember to pack your passport, though! You will still need to show your passport together with your green card before you enter.
Stilt provides loans to international students and working professionals in the U.S. (F-1, OPT, H-1B, O-1, L-1, TN visa holders) at rates lower than any other lender. Stilt is committed to helping immigrants build a better financial future.
We take a holistic underwriting approach to determine your interest rates and make sure you get the lowest rate possible.
Learn what others are saying about us on Google, Yelp, and Facebook or visit us at https://www.stilt.com. If you have any questions, send us an email at [email protected]
I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.
Can I Travel Without My Permanent Resident Card?
My Permanent Residence Card Application has been approved but I have not received my PR card. Can I travel outside of Canada?
So your permanent residence card application has been approved. Congratulations! But, you have been waiting for your Permanent Resident card to arrive in the mail for weeks. Can you leave the country or do you need to wait for your Permanent Resident card to show up?
The PR Card Process
Once your application for permanent residence card is approved, you need to complete the landing process. The landing process consists of a simple interview with an immigration or border officer to confirm a few details and present some documents. You can schedule an appointment and do this inside Canada or at a Canadian port-of-entry (land or air). If everything checks out, the officer will stamp your Confirmation of Permanent Resident (“CoPR”) document and you will officially be a Canadian permanent resident. But, there is still one more step.
After your CoPR has been stamped, the officer will help you complete an application for a PR card. They will confirm your current mailing address with you at this time. It is very important that you list an active and accurate address where someone will be able to receive the card by mail. Otherwise, you could experience significant delays in obtaining the card and your travel plans may be impacted.
It can take two months, or more, for you to receive your first PR card from the date you complete the landing process.
Can I Use my Confirmation of Permanent Residence Document?
Your CoPR is proof that you are a Canadian permanent resident; however, it is not a travel document and is not recognized for re-entry by airlines or other commercial transportation carriers.
For this reason, you should always have either your PR card or travel document on hand when you are re-entering Canada by plane, train, bus or boat. It is important to note that all family members need their own PR card or travel document, including children.
If you are driving, you can use your CoPR to re-enter at a Canada-US border crossing.
What do I do if I don’t have my PR card and I need to travel urgently?
If you are waiting for your PR card to arrive and have an urgent travel need, you do have a couple of options.
1. Re-enter by land through the US. You are not required to have a PR card to re-enter Canada from the US if you are driving back in a private vehicle. If you need to travel to the US, you can fly there and drive back. If you are leaving North America, you can fly back to the US and then drive back through a Canadian border crossing.
2. Obtain a Travel Document. If you are unable to drive back to Canada through the US, you can apply for a travel document. This is a temporary travel document for Canadian permanent residents. It is important to note that you will need to apply after you exit Canada and make your application to the visa office responsible for the region where you are traveling. Processing times for travel documents vary significantly depending on which country you are visiting, so it is important to plan ahead and have everything ready to submit if this is the option you choose. You will need to complete forms and provide documentation proving your permanent resident status and outlining the reasons why you do not have a PR card and why you needed to travel. In addition, you will need to submit photos and your original passport. Letting go of your passport, even if temporarily, can be tricky when you are traveling internationally, particularly if you have multiple stops on your trip. This option should be avoided whenever possible.
These options also apply to permanent residents who are waiting for a PR card renewal application and have urgent travel needs.
Your best bet is to plan ahead and avoid needing a travel document. When your PR application is nearing approval, or you have been invited to complete the landing process, take a moment to think about the timing of the process. If you have a few months without any need to travel, go ahead and complete the landing process and wait inside Canada for your PR card to arrive.
If you have upcoming travel plans, and you still have valid temporary Canadian status, you can postpone the landing process. You will remain a temporary resident of Canada as long as your temporary status is valid up to the point when you land as a permanent resident. Don’t forget to check the expiry date on your CoPR (it is generally one year from the date you completed your medical exam). You do need to land before that date or you will need to apply all over again.
If you choose to postpone the landing because of travel plans, you can complete the landing process when you re-enter. When you arrive at the Canadian airport, let them know that you are a Canadian temporary resident (and ensure you bring your visitor record, work permit or study permit with you) and that you would like to complete your landing as a permanent resident. Once your CoPR is confirmed, your PR card application will be submitted and you can then wait inside Canada for your PR card.
Tips for PR Card Renewals
PR cards are valid for five years from the date they are issued. Make sure you understand what you need to demonstrate when you renew your PR card. Start saving your documents and keep track of travel dates outside of Canada. Being proactive will save you a headache down the road.
It is recommended that you apply to extend your PR card at least 4 months before it expires. This way, you are more likely to avoid disruptions to any planned or urgent travel.
Can Green Card Holders Travel to Canada?
U.S. green card holders are considered permanent residents and can travel to Canada without a visa. However, if you are a green card holder, you may need additional documentation depending on how you travel to or through Canada. Flying has the most restrictions.
If you’re wondering what you need to do as a green card holder to travel to Canada or pass through it on your way to another country, we’ll give you all the details. Depending on what documents you have, your travel to or through Canada may be easier than you think.
A Canadian flag flying in Vancouver. If you are a green card holder, you can travel to Canada with Electronic Travel Authorization from the Canadian government.
Travel Between the U.S. and Canada Is Relatively Easy
The U.S. has a close and extensive relationship with Canada. They share the world’s longest international border, trade $1.8 billion in goods and services daily, and 380,000 people cross between the countries every day.
This unique relationship has resulted in special immigration provisions for Canadian and U.S. citizens and permanent residents. However, if you are a green card holder, you will still need valid travel documents (like your green card and passport) to cross the border.
Traveling to Canada by Land or Sea Directly From the U.S.
If you are traveling by land or sea, the only documents you’ll need are your proof of U.S. permanent resident status (like a green card). You do not need a travel visa, nor be part of a tour group. This is the easiest way to get into Canada and get a taste of the travel advantages of full citizenship.
Flying Into or Through Canada Requires a U.S. Passport
Canada is a foreign country, and like all foreign countries, you will need a valid passport to travel through the air internationally. Since you are not an American citizen yet, you will need to have a valid passport from your home country to use Canadian airports. Green card holders cannot obtain U.S. passports.
Once you become a full U.S. citizen through naturalization, you can apply for a U.S. passport and use that instead of your current one. You also need one more piece of documentation. You must file an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) with the Canadian government.
Do I Need a Visa to Go to Canada If I Have a Green Card?
No visa is required to simply travel to Canada if you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a green card. Generally, permanent residents are allowed to travel to Canada freely and remain for a 6-month stay. You can also apply for an extension if you want to stay longer.
Entering the country as a visitor does not allow you to work in Canada or study for an extended period of time. To work or study, you may be required to get a special immigration permit.
What Is an Electronic Travel Authorization?
An Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is similar to a visa but for visa-exempt foreign nationals traveling by air to Canada. Similar to how other travel documents work, the eTA is linked to your passport and is valid for up to five years or when your passport expires, whichever comes first.
Once you have an eTA, you can travel to Canada as often as you want and stay up to six months. The cost of getting an eTA is CAD $7 and you can apply online. You will need your passport, an email address, and a credit or debit card.
Note that eTA approval does not mean you can get into Canada! Green hard holders must still present their green card and passport to the border officer and answer their questions.
A Common eTA Mistake
One mistake that can get you turned away at the border is to have an incorrect passport number on your eTA form. The number you need to use is at the top of the main passport information page. This is the page that has your photo on it. Use the eTA help guide for more information.
What Else Do I Need To Do to Travel to Canada?
The Canadian Government has an app and website called ArriveCAN. This tool gives you information about the current travel restrictions and requirements to enter and stay in Canada. You can also get informed on the latest pandemic travel restrictions.
As of this writing, Canada is requiring all travelers to enter their travel plans into ArriveCAN within 72 hours before they enter the country. This is likely to help with tracing any coronavirus cases. Please look at ArriveCAN for the latest information for green card holders traveling to Canada.
Will Traveling to Canada Affect My Permanent Resident Status?
International travel as a permanent resident won’t put your green card at risk. If you plan on staying abroad for longer than a year, you will need to fill out several essential forms and ensure that your re-entry to the U.S. is as smooth as possible.
If the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) deems that your stay abroad constitutes abandoning the U.S. as your primary home, your green card may get revoked. While the vast majority of trips don’t have any issues, if you need to travel for more than a year, it is advisable to get a reentry permit to protect your green card status.
Make the Proper Arrangements Before You Travel to Canada
Even though you don’t need a visa to travel to Canada as a green card holder, you should still make proper arrangements to ensure that nothing goes wrong, such as:
- Ensuring that your green card is valid for the duration of travel
- Getting an advance parole (Form I-131) to travel outside the U.S. if you’re currently waiting for your green card with a pending I-485
- Having all your travel documents and authorizations organized and secure before and during your trip
As long as you take the proper steps, you can avoid many risks and any potential problems arising from traveling with your permanent resident status.
Travel Internationally Worry-Free
Canada is one country where the United States green card holders don’t need a visa to enter. However, if you are visiting anywhere else globally, you may need to fill out paperwork and several applications to get cleared. If you’re planning a trip soon, FileRight can help you get started today.