It’s Summer time! People are getting ready to take vacations and to travel. Depending on your status your ability to travel will change as well as what you should be cautious of during your travel.
OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY
You should only travel outside the country if you are a permanent resident, a conditional resident with an extension (whose conditional residence has not been terminated) or you have approved permission to travel based on a pending application.
- Make sure your travel document (passport, advanced parole, etc…) is in your hand and not expired.
- Try to make sure your travel document is not going to expire soon after your intended return
- Don’t travel to places that have travel restrictions or places known for terrorist activity.
- Ensure you have no open criminal cases in the United States or any prior convictions that might make you inadmissible. If you have any prior convictions consult an immigration attorney even if you have traveled in the past with no problems. Immigration enforcement has tightened up and even if a crime doesn’t render you “deportable” it can prevent you from being allowed to re-enter the United States.
- If you are undocumented or have DACA or TPS do not travel outside the country and also avoid places close to borders with a foreign country (Mexico or Canada).
- Lastly, if your travel permission is based on a pending application, I would recommend short trips as you need to make all your appointments and you need to be in the country.
INSIDE THE COUNTRY
Anyone can travel inside the United States. Remember if you are undocumented or a visa overstays you are deportable per se and need to be extra cautious whenever traveling. If you have a status like DACA, TPS, Asylum, Conditional Residency or a work visa you can travel but you should always be ready to present documentation of your status and should have copies of all your paperwork in a safe place in case you are detained.
- Have proof of your status and Id. with you.
- Be aware that there are no layovers in border states or out of the country.
- Be careful to drive without a license as that can cause you to have contact with law enforcement and in many places, they will call ICE on you.
- Remember that busses although safer than airplanes are also subject to search and can be boarded by ICE officers
- If going on cruises or boats, ensure that at no point those vessels will travel through international waters.
- Many states have legalized marijuana, but it is still illegal federally which is what matters for immigration. Don’t take pictures by dispensaries, or smoking or with marijuana products as immigration routinely monitors social media.
At the end of the day, I want you to enjoy your summer travel and discover all of the beauty that this great country has to offer but you need to be vigilant to ensure that an innocent vacation doesn’t turn into a nightmare for the family.
By Abraham Cepeda