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How long can a greencard holder stay outside the US?

Los Angeles, CA |
Filed under: Immigration Green cards

My father went to the states July of last year and came back to the Philippines the same month. He's been outside the US for more than 6 months now and he's planning to go back next month to apply for re-entry. Would that be okay? He's been away for more than 6 months, will he still be admitted to the states?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. He should prepare for them giving him a hard time. He should carry proof that he's not abandoning his US residence. A US-LICENSED attorney will be able to guide you/him in identifying the proper documents to carry.

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  2. As a legal permanent resident, one is expected to live in the US the majority of the time. With a re-entry permit, one can stay outside the US or a year. However, applying for multiple re-entry permits will eventually reach the point were the government will conclude that the person's permanent residency should be terminated.

    In your father's current trip, he should expect to be extensively questioned upon his return.

    J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship. Answers on Avvo can only be general ones, as specific answers would require knowledge of all the facts. As such, they may or may not apply to the question.


  3. For purposes of applying for naturalization, if an LPR is outside of the United States for more than 180 days continuously there is a rebuttable presumption that he or she has interrupted their residency. This 6 month period is a good rule of thumb to use for all travel outside the U.S.

    As an LPR you are expected to reside in the U.S. This does not mean that you cannot travel abroad, but the DHS is going to look at the history of the individual's travel outside the U.S. If the majority of time is spent outside the U.S. they may take the position that the individual has abandoned his or her LPR status. Similarly, long, continuous trips can cause the same problem. Staying outside the U.S. for more than one year continuously can cause them to question the individual when they try to return to the U.S. He should be prepared to explain the reasons why he has been outside the U.S. for such a long period of time.

    Applying for a re-entry permit can help alleviate this problem. It is essentially a way for the individual to tell the DHS that he or she is planning on spending a prolonged period of time outside the U.S., but that they are not abandoning their residence. It does not prevent the DHS from inquiring whether he or she has abandoned their residency, but it does prevent them from relying solely on the duration of the absence as the basis for determining abandonment. The DHS recommends that an LPR apply for the re-entry permit if they plan on being outside the U.S. for more than 6 months continuously.

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