There is a misconception by many U.S. legal permanent residents (“LPRs”) or green cardholders that they can preserve their permanent residency status if they return to the U.S. for a brief period of time every six months. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), merely returning to the U.S. once every six months is not a guarantee that they have not abandoned their permanent residency or that their green cards won’t be revoked.
A key determination for the government is whether you intend to remain an LPR. This determination will depend on various factors, including:
- Length of time outside the U.S. when you return to the U.S.;
- Documents your present upon entry to the U.S., evidencing that you actually live in the U.S.; such as, a U.S. drivers’ license;
- Number of years you have lived in the U.S.;
- Whether you are employed in the U.S. or abroad;
- Where your family members live;
- Whether you have filed U.S. income taxes; and
- Whether you maintain a U.S. mailing address, own property, conduct a business in the U.S., or keep U.S. bank accounts or credit cards.
The foregoing factors are not an exhaustive list, but as long as there is evidence to support the temporary nature of your absence, then you may not have abandoned your residence.
Not knowing or not following immigration requirements may jeopardize your permanent residency status or green card. If you are planning a trip abroad, consult with the immigration attorneys at the Law Offices of Azita M. Mojarad, P.C. before you depart to ensure you have all facts to preserve your green card.