US citizens can travel without a visa to more than 170 countries worldwide. Because of this, many places have extended the same privilege to holders of the US permanent residence permit (Green Card).
There are several countries that you can visit with your Green Card, that you otherwise may not be able to. Neighbouring Mexico and Canada are just two of them.
Can All Green Card Holders Travel Abroad Without a Visa?
You can only travel internationally with your Green Card if you are travelling to a country that has extended the same rights to US Green Card holders as to American citizens. In other words, if you look at the visa policy of a country, and it claims that US citizens and permanent residents (Green Card holders) are visa-exempt.
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However, most countries will first consider your nationality (i.e. your passport) when you travel, so, if you would normally need a visa to go somewhere, then you will need a visa even if you have a Green Card.
Where Can Green Card Holders Travel Without a Visa?
Here are the countries that Green Card Holders can visit without a visa:
- Costa Rica
- The British Virgin Islands
- Aruba and Curaçao
- The Balkans
If you have a US Green Card, then you can simply jump across the border to Canada – you do not have to apply for a Canadian tourist visa. However, you do have to get an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization), which is a quick permit to enter Canada and will allow you to board a flight. It costs around $7 and you can apply for an eTA online.
Once you receive the eTA, you just need to show it to the immigration officers at the entry point in Canada, along with your passport and your Green Card and you’re good to go.
Can Everyone Travel to Canada With a Green Card?
Yes, everyone (regardless of nationality) who has a US Green Card can travel to Canada without having to apply for a Canadian visa. If you are travelling by air or transiting in Canada, you will have to get an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) before travelling, but if you’re crossing the border by land, you only need your passport and Green Card.
Another US neighbour, Mexico, also allows you to enter without a visa if you show your passport and US Green Card. You don’t have to apply for a Mexico visa, despite your nationality.
However, you still need to get a Mexico Tourist Card, by one of the following ways:
- In the plane, if you are travelling by air. The plane crew will distribute them as you are about to land, and the price of the card will be included on the price of your air ticket.
- Online, after which you must print the Tourist Card and bring it with you when you travel.
- At a Mexico embassy in the US, before you travel
- At an immigration desk at the Mexico airport after you land
- At the Mexico port of call, if you are travelling by sea
- At the point of entry, if you are travelling by land
The fee for a Mexico tourist card if $25-$35.
Can Everyone Travel to Mexico with a Green Card?
Yes, if you have a US Green Card, then you can use it to cross the border to Mexico without having to apply for a Mexican visa, regardless of your nationality. However, you do need a Mexican tourist card, which is different from a visa because you won’t need to go to a Mexican embassy or consulate and make a formal visa application.
Tourist cards for Mexico are obtained much more easily than visas – some airlines actually include them in the flight ticket price and distribute them to the passengers before the plane lands. Alternatively, you can get a tourist card online or on arrival as well.
Your US Green Card will also allow you to visit Costa Rica, with its beautiful beaches, forests, and rich culture and welcoming people. According to Costa Rican consular services, if you have a Green Card, then you don’t have to apply for a Costa Rica visa to visit this Central American country. All you need to show the immigration officers at the port of entry is:
- Your passport
- Your Green Card
- A return or onward journey ticket, within the next 30 days
You can stay in Costa Rica visa-free for up to 30 days, but for a period longer than that, you will have to apply for an extension of stay at the Office of Migration in Costa Rica.
No, not Georgia the US State – Georgia, Europe. Although it is not at the top of most people’s European destinations, there is a lot to see and do in Georgia. Not only is it home to Europe’s highest village (Ushguli, a very cool place), but you can also visit the mysterious cave cities or take a walk around its capital, Tbilisi, which is like a mix of different cultures. The people are also said to be very friendly and welcoming.
Green Card holders, as well as US citizens, can visit Georgia without having to apply for a Georgian visa beforehand. When you travel, you will have to show your passport, Green Card, and a return or onward flight ticket. You can stay for a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period.
The British Virgin Islands
A US Green Card will grant you entry into the British Virgin Islands. Along with your Green Card, you will also need proof you have accommodation in one of the islands (e.g. hotel reservation), proof you have booked a return flight ticket, as well as your passport.
You can stay for up to 30 days without a visa.
The British Virgin Islands are an archipelago in the Caribbean, part of the British overseas territories. They are known for the reef-lined beaches, sunny weather, and as a popular sailing destination.
Aruba and Curaçao
If you have a US Green Card, then you can enter Aruba, Curacao, and any of the islands that make up the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands:
- St Eustatius
- St Maarten
These islands are a great destination for anyone looking to spend time in the sun, and because they are so diverse, there is a lot to do. See more on entry requirements for the Dutch Caribbeans.
Note: You cannot enter the European part of the Netherlands or any other Schengen Area countries with your Green Card.
Several Balkan countries will allow you to travel there without a visa if you already have a US visa or Green Card.
Albania: If you have a US Green Card, you can enter and stay in Albania for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period.
Montenegro: If you have a US visa or Green Card, then you can enter or pass through the territory of Montenegro for up to 30 days.
North Macedonia: If you have a US Green Card, you can enter and stay in North Macedonia for up to 15 days.
You wouldn’t think the Balkans is a compelling place to visit, but you’d be surprised. Balkan countries have a wonderful history, a diverse nature for adventure lovers, friendly people, and a lot of ancient historic attractions. And, most importantly, it’s very affordable and has delicious food.
A Green Card will also allow you to transit through Singapore for up to four days – but only if you have an Indian or Chinese passport. Indian and Chinese nationals are eligible for the Singaporean Visa Free Transit Facility (VFTF) if they fulfil the following requirements:
- They will depart by air or sea
- They have a valid flight ticket or ferry/cruise ticket scheduled leaving Singapore within the next 96 hours
- They have a US Green Card or another valid visa
If you meet the aforementioned requirements, you have to present your case to the Singaporean Immigration Services (ICA) at the point of entry. Remember that you cannot make use of the VFTF twice during the same trip – only once, either on your onward or return journey.
Another country that you can visit with a Green Card – only if you are an Indian or Chinese national – is Peru. There’s a lot of reasons to visit Peru, especially if you are passionate about ancient history and archaeology since this country is home to countless ancient cultures and civilizations, including Machu Picchu.
You will have to show your passport, the Green Card, and an onward flight ticket to the Peruvian Immigration officers at the entry point. The immigration officers will give you a tourist card, which shows how many days you are allowed to stay Peru – this is usually no more than 90 days.
Unfortunately, if you are not originally from India or China, a Green Card on its own won’t allow you to visit Peru visa-free (unless, of course, you are already visa-exempt).
Can Green Card Holders Travel to Europe Without a Visa?
That will depend mostly on your passport/nationality. However, if you normally require a visa, then just a Green Card is not enough to give you visa-free access to most European destinations.
But there is more to Europe than the EU, and Green Card holders can travel to some European countries without having to apply for a visa.
Read also: How to Apply for a Schengen Visa from the US
Do Green Card Holders Need Visa for UK?
Yes, they do. If you would normally require a visa to enter the UK, then you will have to apply for one even if you have a Green Card. Unfortunately, a Green Card does not allow the holder to enter the UK just like it does not allow them to enter the European Union.
Can I Travel with a Green Card and No Passport?
Probably not. If you do not have a passport, you will not be able to travel internationally. Whether you travel by air or land, when you cross a country’s borders, the immigration authorities there will ask to see your passport, and (if required) a visa or residence permit.
In some cases, there is no need to present your passport when crossing a border but that is very limited. Only nationals of neighbouring countries or countries that have some sort of agreement in place (for example, nationals of Schengen Area countries) don’t need to present a passport when crossing into another country.