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Can I travel to another country from the US without my passport even though I have my green card

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    International travel almost always requires a passport. Unless you have a good reason to suspect you might not need one, you almost certainly will. – David Richerby May 13 '16 at 4:14
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    In general, you should check the rules for each country to intend to enter, to see what documents you need. In addition to your passport and green card you may need a visa. – Patricia Shanahan May 13 '16 at 11:25
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You can visit Canada using only your green card and no passport, provided you arrive via land from the United States.

I know of no other perfectly legal ways to enter another country without a passport and only a green card. Though of course the Mexico immediate land border areas do not routinely check documents, so you may be able to visit Mexican border towns as well.


Note that you can return to the United States with only your green card, if you have been absent less than one year. If you have been gone a year or more, you need a Re-entry Permit, or if you have been gone two years or more, a returning resident visa. It is still a good idea to carry your travel document, even if you don't technically need it, as you may be delayed at the border if you do not have it.

Finally, if you are stateless and have no passport from any country, you can use the Re-entry Permit as a passport-replacing document, and obtain visas to other countries to be placed in it. You can then travel to and visit any country which gives you a visa. If you have refugee/asylum status in the US, you should instead travel on the Refugee Travel Document, which lets holders travel visa-free to a few countries such as Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.

  • The OP will be constrained to crossing the land border to enter Canada with the green card alone. Air travel requires a valid passport as well. – Dennis May 14 '16 at 14:16
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It depends on the country you are visiting.

It is, for example, perfectly legal to travel to Germany with only a German ID card ("Personalausweis"), no passport is needed (I do that all the time). The Green Card is only relevant at the time you want to get back into the USA; and it is sufficient for that. So you can travel to Germany and back to the USA with only that ID and a GC; other countries will probably have similar regulations.

Note though that many airline personnel don't know or don't care about such fine details; typically, Lufthansa does not let you board a flight starting outside of Germany with only a German ID, and requires to see your passport. So you are back to square one.

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    Airlines do care about such things a lot and even have a special computer system to check what countries accept what identification (called TIMATIC). If Lufthansa cannot be bothered to check, I suggest you switch to a different airline. One day they may cause you a big problem at a foreign border because they let you board a plane with an unacceptable document. – Calchas May 13 '16 at 21:36
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    @Calchas , I would not pick LH if it is my choice. My employer picks them and he pays the flights, so I fly with them. My personal travel is with other airlines, and there it works as described - no passport needed. – Aganju May 13 '16 at 23:41
  • @Calchas, Aganju the US actually requires departing air travelers to have a passport. I don't think there is an explicit exception for green card holders, but maybe there is. The requirement itself is poorly thought out and poorly implemented (and difficult to find in the code of federal regulations), so I would not be surprised if Lufthansa doesn't enforce it. – phoog Aug 8 at 10:52

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