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Keeping a Green Card

Posted by attorney Elizabeth Blandon

Obtaining a green card is a major milestone for a foreign national in the United States. It grants you legal status in the United States and access to many federal benefits. However, actions taken by foreign nationals after being granted a green card can place their status in jeopardy.

One major benefit of becoming a resident is ability to travel freely. That is why so many foreigners are surprised when after traveling in and out of the United States, their green card is deemed “abandoned." If the status is deemed “abandoned," the foreigner may be denied entry into the United States following a trip abroad.

To keep their green card, a foreigner should avoid:

  • lengthy trips;
  • failing to file taxes;
  • establishing roots abroad that would appear “permanent"

Importantly, the purchase of a home overseas will not result in the end of legal permanent resident status.

When the Department of Homeland Security charges foreign nationals with abandonment, they must establish that the trip abroad was only temporary. Therefore, they should make efforts to ensure that they document that the United States is their permanent home (even if they have a second home in another country.)

Because each case is different, a legal permanent resident considering spending significant time outside of the United States or seeking to “put down roots" abroad should consult an attorney.

This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship. Consultation with an experienced competent immigration attorney is the best way to address individual concerns

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