American citizens, permanent residents may travel abroad if they are on duty-free privileges

I am an American citizen, and my parents are U.S. citizens. For the past several years, my parents have both been healthy. They are 69 and 66. I work in New York City. They do not have health insurance and live in New York City. What restrictions should I read in order to travel to them, should they be in danger?

Dear M.S.,

Yes, you are correct that American citizens and lawful permanent residents are covered by the Treasury Immigration Service under Chapter 23 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), or a related law if they are foreign-born citizens. You may travel abroad in your right of no-flight-duty during the hours and with no-flight-duty privileges.

Although a USAID passport is required by the United States Department of State for travel to the United States, travelers in their right of no-flight-duty rights are not required to obtain or obtain a passport. As long as you are on duty-free grounds, the United States government does not require a U.S. passport to enter the United States, although if you should leave the country and travel to another country for business or leisure, you would need a U.S. passport. (See page 32 of this publication for a more detailed explanation.)

If you are traveling abroad, where you and your family would reside as a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (U.S. citizenship), the Treasury Immigration Service may require you to apply for a certificate of entry to enter and remain in the United States, but it is not a requirement. The United States Comptroller of the Currency and the Department of the Treasury own portions of the list of travel destinations used for entrance clearance by customs officers and other law enforcement personnel as part of operation SEARCH.

Generally, if you travel to another country, you must apply for a one-time entry permit using the landing or departure stamp of your passport or proof of a previously issued exit visa, if you need a visa from a foreign country to enter the United States.

You may leave one’s country at a United States airport without presenting your passport but you will be required to present your passport when entering the United States. Any new entry permits into the United States will expire at the same time as your passport expires. If you renew your passport, it must expire within one year of your last renewal (in other words, if you renew it during the year of the current year, it will expire in the year that follows).

In these cases, the expiration date will list your departure date from the country in question but not your arrival date or arrival on American soil. You will be required to present your passport for examination in the United States in order to enter. You may be prohibited from accepting a cross-border passenger bus at a U.S. airport under 30 hours of travel on any route between a foreign airport and a U.S. port of entry except for undersized economy class tickets at the lowest available fare; business class tickets at the lowest available fare for passengers traveling on trans-Atlantic routes; and coach tickets for passengers traveling between U.S. ports of entry and a foreign airport (unless the ticket also includes a ticket between the United States and the host country).

Copyright © 2011 New York Times. All rights reserved.

Leave a Comment