The issue of when and how a green card can be revoked is an issue often raised to top immigration lawyers. One way a lawful permanent resident may lose their green card is through the commission of an offense that makes them removable under the Immigration and Nationality Act. These individuals are given an opportunity to defend their green card status in removal proceedings before Immigration Judges. Seeking representation of an immigration law firm familiar with immigration laws and procedures can be the difference between a person retaining or losing their green card status. click reference
Another way a lawful permanent resident may lose their green card is if they are deemed to have abandoned their U.S. residency status. The issue of abandonment of lawful permanent status has many layers and can be difficult to understand. Some say it is one of the most confusing immigration concepts in the immigration laws. Once a person has either obtained immigrant status at a U.S. embassy abroad or has successfully adjusted status to that of legal permanent resident in the United States, their status can be compromised as a result of a prolonged stay outside the U.S. A common question asked of Florida immigration lawyers is “How long may I remain outside the U.S. without losing or abandoning my green card status?”
Two general concepts help to answer this question:
1. A six month stay outside the U.S. creates a rebuttable presumption that a lawful permanent resident has abandoned their status.
2. A one year stay outside the U.S. creates an irrebuttable presumption of abandonment of status. The exception is where the lawful permanent resident obtains a Reentry Permit or a Returning Resident Visa. Reentry Permits and Returning Resident Visas will be the subject of another article.
The keys to determining abandonment of resident status are the individual’s “intent” to abandon status and whether the trip outside the U.S. is actually “temporary” in nature. One example is the lawful permanent resident who sets out on a temporary trip to his or her home country with the intent to visit a parent. While away, the parent becomes gravely ill causing the lawful permanent resident to extend his or her stay longer than initially planned. A charge of abandonment is likely defensible in this example because the resident’s intent was always to return to the U.S. and the trip, albeit longer than expected, was always temporary in nature.
A common misconception is that brief visits to the U.S. once a year while spending several years abroad will guard against an abandonment charge. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) determination of whether a person has abandoned lawful permanent resident status due to foreign travel depends on several factors, only one of which is the number and length of the trips outside the United States. Other factors include, but are not limited to, whether the trip had a specified beginning and end, compliance with all US tax obligations, family, business, and property ties in the United States, and how many years the lawful permanent resident has resided in immigrant status in the U.S. before engaging in the lengthy foreign travel.