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How long can a US permanent resident stay outside the US? Can a green card be revoked if a he gains employment abroad?

Monroe, OK |

My husband just arrived the US on Dec 2008 and has a green card. I am a US citizen & we've been married for 12 yrs.
Due to the recession here & difficulty in finding a decent job, my husband went back to his home country (Philippines) on June 2009 as there are better opportunities for him there.
Last year we filed our taxes jointly & we still plan to do so for the next tax season. We are aware that to keep his green card, he has to continue paying taxes.
My question is, how long can he stay outside the US? Some people say 6 months, some 1 year (beyond 1 year requires a re-entry permit).
And given that my permanent resident husband gets employed in the Philippines, will that make him lose his green card even if I continuously file taxes jointly here in the US?

Attorney Answers 1


Losing once "Green Card" or lawful permanent resident status depends on the intent of the particular individual. From your description, it appears that your husband does not intend to abandon his status or relinquish permanent resident status in the United States. That being said, if your husband is absent from the United States for more than 1 year without a re-entry permit, Customs may questions his absence from the the US because a presumption of abandonment of lawful permanent resident status is triggered. However, this presumption can be rebutted given the factors you state above, such as, paying taxes, U.S. citizen spouse, house, bank account, etc.

To prevent this problem, your husband can simply file a re-entry permit if he knows that he will be out of the country from more than one year. If the company he is working for abroad, he may be eligible to preserve his ability to file for U.S. citizenship. This is not clear from the information you provided but perhaps something to explore.

DISCLAIMER: This is not intended for legal advise since more information and documentation is required to be able to advise on this matter.

I hope this was helpful. Good luck.

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