Background: My wife is Canadian, my kids and I are US Citizens. We've traveled a bit internationally (mostly to Canada and the occasional Caribbean trip). We are planning years of extended travel in 2018. Starting with Canada, Mexico and then Central America, ending in Panama and then onto the Galapagos and various other places. All members have passports and major US ties (rental property). Wife has a 10-year green card with 4 years left.

Question: What are the advantages / disadvantages of us starting our travels without her US citizenship? Does it really matter? She intends to become a US citizen at some point, but it hasn't been a priority in the last 11 years. It would be nice if she could vote. It would be nice to NOT have the green card expiry hanging over us.

Some of the things we're planning on doing are considered high physical risk to some - though fairly normal to us. Aside from a major international crisis, what are the reasons we may want to do this or not prior to leaving? Situations you can imagine this being an issue especially in countries mentioned? Here's a situation: What if all of our travel documents were stolen? Would we all end up at a different consulate than her? Or, say we were accused of doing something illegal in one of those countries. Just playing the what-if game here.

Additional Details: Travel will likely be for 2-3 years with at least 1 visit to the US and 1 to Canada per year, but likely more frequent to see family. First marriage (for both of us), yes kids are US Citizens and do NOT yet have duel citizenship.

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    Bottom line if your need help from an embassy, you will end up dealing with two embassies. Is that reason enough for her to finalize the process to become a citizen, only you can decide. With 40+ years of extensive travel all over the globe, I have yet (knock on wood) to call upon my embassy for aid, only for routine paperwork. But that is just my experience, not a guarantee. – user13044 Sep 29 '17 at 1:24
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    The kids are also Canadians, aren't they? – phoog Sep 29 '17 at 2:18
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    Does your wife plan to return to the US at least once a year during the travel period? – Patricia Shanahan Sep 29 '17 at 2:30
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    @phoog - the way the OP writes "me & my kids" makes it sound like a second marriage to me. – user13044 Sep 29 '17 at 2:43
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    The only thing "Opinion Based" about the question is the unfounded opinion that should it be put on hold. This makes no sense... there is a right / wrong answer to a straightforward question. No "opinions" needed, only facts. – maplemale Sep 29 '17 at 18:31

I can't think of a possible situation that you may have a problem having two different passports, both from major first-world countries. You'll be OK.

What if all of our travel documents were stolen? Would we all end up at a different consulate than her?

If your documents are stolen, you both go to police, get a copy of your police report, and go to American consulate first, then to Canadian consulate. At both places, you apply for temporary documents to return home. You don't have to be separated from each other.

Or, say we were accused of doing something illegal in one of those countries.

There is no benefit or disadvantage from being of the same nationality when you are accused of a crime.

You problems may arise if you are from a first-world country and your companion is from a third-world country. You may be admitted to enter the country, while she may be denied entry. So you'll need to be separated, because you are already inside the country but she'll be put on the return flight.

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    The wife may have trouble maintaining her permanent resident status if she's out of the US for "years." – phoog Sep 29 '17 at 9:22
  • @phoog That's a good point... Do you know what the requirement for keeping her permanent residency status is? – maplemale Sep 29 '17 at 18:15
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    @maplemale I can't add an answer because the question is closed, but I've voted to reopen it. It might be more appropriate on Expatriates, but in a nutshell, see Maintaining Permanent Residence and International Travel as a Permanent Resident. She may need a re-entry permit or returning resident visa. There are other considerations, too, including the residence requirement for naturalization. – phoog Sep 29 '17 at 18:24

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