Forgetting passport, green card can ruin your holidays

December 23, 2015
(Park Sang-hyuk/The Korea Times)

(Park Sang-hyuk/The Korea Times)

By The Korea Times Los Angeles staff

If you are one of the 100 million people projected to be traveling this holiday season, especially out of the country, don’t forget your passport, green card or visa.

A Korean American man surnamed Suh recently took a vacation down to Mexico to visit his wife and her family. Everything went well until it came time to get back into the states.

Suh’s wife soon realized that she had left her green card back at their U.S. home. Anyone who has traveled to Mexico knows that as a traveler, it’s much easier to get into the country than out.

Immigration wouldn’t grant her access, so Suh was left with only two options. Either have someone mail the necessary documents or fly home and back and home again.

He didn’t want to risk losing his wife’s green card so he bit the bullet with a $1,000 round trip ticket, so that they could finally return to the U.S. together.

In another case, a man surnamed Kim went on a trip to South Korea with his children. He had a 2-year work visa, which allowed him to travel to the U.S.

Although he carried his South Korean passport with him to enter his home country, he didn’t bring his visa, which inevitably created some problems.

As it turned out, he kept a copy of his work visa on him for occasions just like this, but when it comes to immigration, it’s official documents or bust.

Fortunately for him, after five hours of investigation and questioning, the authorities let him through.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recommends all travelers to double check and carry their visas, green cards and passports.

Nowadays, if an airline gets caught issuing a boarding pass without checking if an individual has the necessary documents to legally enter the country to which they are traveling, it can receive a fine up to $3,000.