A green card is a common way to refer to the government-issued card provided to individuals with lawful permanent residence status in the United States. The name is based on the fact that the card was initially green. Throughout the years the card has taken different forms and colors, but the term "Green Card" has remained in use. You must carry your Green Card, or "Permanent Resident Card," with you at all times
What is Permanent Residency?
Official immigration status is held in the form of Lawful Permanent Residency, commonly called "Green Card." There are generally three avenues to obtaining Lawful Permanent Residency: through family members, through employment, and through the diversity lottery.
Some Travel Concerns for the Permanent Resident
If you have a green card (i.e. a Lawful Permanent Residence Card), it is important to be aware of some issues that may arise as a result of traveling outside the United States. A person with a green card is free to travel outside the U.S., although a passport from their country of citizenship is generally necessary. When you return to the U.S. you usually simply show your green card at the time of re-entry. However, if you are going to be outside the United States for more than one year, but less than two years, you will want to obtain a "reentry permit." Be aware that if you are outside the U.S. for more than 180 days (about 6 months) and attempt to re-enter, you may be deemed to have abandoned or relinquished your status.