Green card commuter status

Maintaining your green card can be confusing, especially for Canadians and Mexicans contemplating or already commuting to the United States for work under a green card. Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) from Canada and Mexico have a unique opportunity to maintain their residency status while working in the U.S. through what is known as “commuter status.” This status allows for a flexible arrangement, catering to regular and seasonal employment. This article explores commuter status nuances, outlining eligibility, application processes, and considerations to maintain your status.

1. Understanding Commuter Status

Commuter status is an administrative grant allowing LPRs residing in Canada or Mexico to work in the United States without jeopardizing their permanent resident status. This arrangement recognizes the unique geographical and economic ties between the U.S. and its neighboring countries. It is divided into two categories:

  • Regular employment commuters
  • Seasonal workers

2. Eligibility Requirements

Obtaining Commuter Status

To qualify for commuter status, applicants must:

  • Prove they are LPRs.
  • Reside in Canada or Mexico.
  • Secure employment in the U.S. within six months before application.

Evidence of Employment: Applicants must include employment verification, such as pay stubs or an employment letter, with their application (Form I-90).

Removing Commuter Status

Commuters relocating to the U.S. must update their status via Form I-90, supplying evidence of a U.S. residence. Seasonal workers in the U.S. for over six months in 12 months may lose their commuter status, necessitating a status adjustment.

3. Commuter Status Application Process

LPRs interested in commuter status must submit Form I-90 with evidence of Canadian or Mexican residency and U.S. employment. USCIS issues a Permanent Resident Card (PRC) indicating commuter status upon approval. This process applies when changing from commuter to resident status or vice versa.

4. Maintaining Your Commuter Status

Commuters must demonstrate ongoing employment in the U.S. and may need to renew their commuter status periodically. Key documents include the commuter PRC and when required, the Commuter Status Card (Form I-178) for border crossing, which is valid for six months and renewable with proof of continued U.S. employment.

5. Loss of Permanent Resident Status for Commuters

Commuters risk losing LPR status if out of U.S. employment for six months, barring exceptions such as involuntary unemployment. Commuters must pick up their PRC from their designated port-of-entry and renew their commuter status card every six months with CBP, showing proof of ongoing U.S. employment.


For Canadians and Mexicans, commuter status is a viable way to work in the U.S. while maintaining permanent residency. Understanding and adhering to the eligibility and maintenance requirements are essential. Whether you’re a seasoned commuter or considering this status, it is crucial to understand the requirements to obtain and maintain commuter green card status.

Subscribe to Our Resources Blog

Schedule a Consultation with an Immigration Lawyer


We Can Help!

You may have questions regarding a commuter green card. We invite you to contact our team at Richards and Jurusik for detailed guidance and assistance. We aim to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information to make your immigration process smoother and less stressful. The immigration lawyers at Richards and Jurusik have decades of experience helping people to work and live in the United States. Read some of our hundreds of 5-star client reviews! Contact us today to assess your legal situation.

Contact Us

Similar Posts