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Avoiding Unintentionally Abandoning Permanent Resident Status: Avoid Absences, Maintain Ties

Posted by attorney Ann Badmus

Avoid Prolonged Absences Outside The United States

Legal permanent resident (LPR) status is granted to foreign nationals who intend to make the United States their permanent home. As discussed in recent articles, prolonged absences from the U.S. for any reason other than a temporary purpose could result in the loss of LPR status.

The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) established legal precedents pertaining to the abandonment of LPR status. Three of those are as follows:

  • “permanent" is defined as meaning “a relationship of continuing or lasting nature, as distinguished from temporary."

  • “residence" is defined as meaning “the place of general abode, the place of general abode of a person means his principle, actual dwelling place in fact, without regard to intent."

  • a person returning to the U.S. as an LPR must be returning “to an unrelinquished lawful permanent residence in the United States after a temporary absence abroad."

In one BIA case, Matter of Kane, a citizen of Jamaica lived in her native country for 11 months and came back to the U.S. for one month each year in an effort to maintain her LPR status. The BIA found that her actual place of residence was Jamaica, and she was no longer entitled to LPR status in the U.S. As this case illustrates, many LPRs mistakenly believe that they only need to return to the U.S. at least once per year in order to maintain their LPR status.

Maintain Ties to The U.S.

Having family members, owning property, having bank accounts, having employment filings, having filed income tax returns, or having business affiliations in the United States help to show that foreign national intends to live permanently in the U.S. and did not abandon their LPR status despite being absent for a prolonged period of time. The individual must also demonstrate that the purpose of their trip abroad was temporary and fixed and that they intended to the return to the U.S. as an actual home or place of employment. Family ties, property ownership and business affiliations in the foreign country, on the other hand, raise red flags. Failing to file tax returns or filing as a nonresident in the U.S. are also negative factors that indicate abandonment of permanent residence.

Additional resources provided by the author

If you're a foreign medical graduate who wishes to practice medicine anywhere in the United States, the Badmus Law Firm can help you navigate the often complicated immigration process. You are invited to contact us at (469) 916-7900 or at

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