HOW TO APPLY FOR RETURNING RESIDENT STATUS
If you are a legal permanent resident and you travel abroad for longer than two years, you are considered to have abandoned your permanent residency and will have to apply for a returning resident status by filing Form DS-117 with supporting documents at the nearest U.S. embassy.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO SHOW?The supporting documents need to show that you (1) were a lawfully admitted permanent resident of the United States at the time of departure; (2) at the time of departure, you had the intention of returning to the United States; (3) while residing abroad, you did not abandon the intention to return to the United States; and (4) are returning from a temporary residence abroad; or if the stay was long-lasting, it was caused by reasons beyond your control.
HOW TO TO SHOW TIES TO THE U.S.?There are certain factors that assist immigration officers in their decisions. First, in assessing whether the visit was temporary, the officer will look at the duration of the trip. Second, the extent of your ties to the U.S. mentioned above will be a significant concern. As already mentioned, such ties can be family connections, job, property holdings, business or bank account in the U.S. Other examples can include taking only leave of absence in lieu of resignation in social clubs like Kiwanis or Rotary, donating to local charity within your township, or paying local property taxes.
WHAT IS YOUR INTENT?Additionally, your intent in regards to which country you consider your home and the expected length of the trip is important. However, just having intent to eventually return to the U.S. is not enough in and of itself. It has to be coupled with concrete actions of consistently maintaining the permanent bond with the U.S. For instance, living in another country for 11 months of the year and coming to the U.S. for a month is not enough to maintain a green card without some additional ties to the U.S.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF YOUR TRIP?One of the other factors to be considered is the purpose for your trip. If the period of absence from the U.S. is extended it still can be viewed as "temporary" if the termination date of that period can be fixed by some early event.
In other words, when you plan a trip, you have to plan to return within a relatively short period of time. If there are some circumstances beyond your control that require the extension of the trip, you can do that, as long as you intend to return to the U.S. as soon as possible.