Permanent Residence and Abandoning Permanent Resident Status

The individual, who has a green card, can live in the United States as a permanent resident, and losing your permanent residence status, will mean you can be removed from living in the U.S. The details of this regulation are found in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 212 or 237. If there is a reason, while holding a green card to leave the U.S. for a period of time and reside in another country, consulting a Butte immigration lawyer for advice may be a wise choice. Losing this status can mean having to leave your residence in the United States and having immigration issues.

It is possible to be found to have abandoned permanent resident status, if you:

  • Live outside of the United States for a period of one year or longer, without obtaining a returning resident visa or reentry permit. Your status may be determined as abandoned, even if the period outside of the U.S. is shorter than one year.
  • Leave the United States to live in another country permanently.
  • If you are out of the United States for any period of time living and do not file income tax returns.
  • Living outside of the United States for over two years, after being issued a reentry permit, without obtaining a returning resident visa. Your status can be determined as abandoned with any length of absence from the United States, even when the amount of time has been less than one year.
  • If at any time you declare yourself as a nonimmigrant status on your income tax returns.

When any of these rules apply to the individual, they can be brought before an immigration court, where it will be determined whether they have the right to remain in the United States as a permanent resident or not. This is when immigration lawyer advice can be especially crucial, if you as the individual facing this court decision would like to remain living as a permanent resident.

Another way that permanent resident status can come under question, is when there is an extended absence from the U.S. by the green card holder, on their return trip, a U.S. border official can make a finding that they have abandoned their permanent residence. In this instance, they will not accept the foreign national’s statement of intent, in regard to their absence.

The immigration attorney Butte has a few recommendations, if planning an extended stay outside of the country, to avoid this problem coming back into the country, obtain a reentry permit prior to leaving. This can stop problems with the U.S. border officials, when returning from an extended stay outside of the United States. Another way to totally avoid the abandonment issues is to apply and obtain U.S. citizenship. A naturalized citizen has the same rights to leave and reenter the United States as desired. In order to have the naturalization application accepted, one of the eligibility requirements are, there is a three to five year period, in which the applicant must have a residence in the U.S. and be present in the country, without interruption with no more than a six-month absence. This is not just maintaining a residence in the United States, but also being physically present.

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