Abandonment of residency

Generally speaking, a permanent resident must reside permanently in the USA. The US does not grant someone an immigration benefit like a Permanent Resident Card who does not intend to reside in the USA.

If the US discovers that you live or work abroad, or if you have departed the US for a long period, the Department of Homeland Security (USDHS) may consider that you have “abandoned” your residence in the USA. If this happens, your Alien Registration Card (the so-called “green” card) could be taken away from you when you attempt to re-enter the USA at a Port of Entry.

If you depart the USA for a long period – any period over six (6) months – you should be prepared to explain your absence when you re-enter the USA. You could be detained at the Port of Entry and even refused admission.

If you form the intention to relinquish your residency and depart– even for a few days -- you may have abandoned your residency in the USA. You could be detained at the Port of Entry and even refused admission.

If a Legal Permanent Resident is out of the USA continuously for more than 365 days, the USDHS takes the position that residency has been abandoned. However, your residency may be abandoned, even if less than one year has elapsed, if you live and work outside the USA.

Abandonment is a very complicated issue. It is not simply a question of how long you have been absent from the USA.

We do not want you to lose the “green” card that you waited so long to achieve. If you are planning to depart the USA for any extended period of time, or if you are going to live or work outside the USA for an extended period of time, please call Fong & Aquino (626.577.8020) for a consultation appointment to discuss the ways to preserve your Legal Permanent Resident status.

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