What can I do while waiting for my green card?

Permanent residents of the United States enjoy a number of benefits, including being able to work and travel within reason. However, some people who have already achieved permanent residence but have not yet received their green cards might not be sure what some of their options are. Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering working or traveling without a green card in hand.

Someone who was already a permanent resident before traveling to Louisiana can use his or her passport for traveling abroad. A person in this situation should have already had  his or her passport stamped by a border officer when first entering the United States. That stamp, which is good for six months, shows that he or she is a permanent resident. As long as the individual returns before the stamp expires, traveling to visit family or friends should be fine.

It is also possible to work without having a physical copy of one’s green card. However, someone who wants to do so has to fill out an Application for Employment Authorization and submit it to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. If the USCIS approves the application, the individual can work even while a green card application is still being reviewed.

Immigration is rarely a straight path. Many people find that they have to seek out alternatives while waiting for responses or when their first plans fall through. Finding the right solution when waiting to hear back about a green card for permanent residence is especially important for immigrants who want to continue living and working in Louisiana. Taking the time to learn as much as possible about the immigration system and asking for help when necessary is certainly a good idea for people in this situation.