during their stay out of the country do they have to maintain some form of ties in the USA? after what period of staying out of the country can green card holders have their green card canceled?
No, unless there is an exigent, urgent reason for it. Generally, to maintain LPR status, the person should not be staying outside the US for longer than 6 months. Yes ties should be kept in order to preserve LPR status. For other ways to preserve LPR status while going on an extended stay, please contact experienced immigration lawyer.
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A lawful permanent resident is someone who is supposed to be residing in the U.S. permanently. The longer the trip outside the U.S., the higher the presumption that a person is not really living here within the contours of the law. If a person is out for more than six months, they are considered to be seeking a new admission. See INA 101(a)(13)(c). This carries a lot of ramifications. As well, a CBP officer can make a decision to start removal proceedings if they believe the person has abandoned their residency. Removal proceedings would have the effect of cancelling the person's status.
You can stay out of the US for up to 6 months with no consequences, as long as you have a valid green card and passport. If you are going to be out for more than 6 months contact with the consulate will be necessary especially if you plan to be out for up to a year.
If you are out for more than a year you may be considered to have abandoned your green card and may not be allowed re-entry. You may be able to stay out of the country for more than a year if you apply for and are granted a re-entry permit by USCIS prior to leaving the country.
Law Offices of J Thomas Smith J.D., Ph.D 11500 Northwest Freeway, Suite 280 Houston, TX 77092 713-LAWYER-2 www.MyImmigrationLawyer.info NOTE: Responses are for the education of the community at large and is not intended to be "legal advice." No attorney-client relationship is established by responses or comments.