Many of our clients who have obtained US Permanent Residency (Green Cards) subsequently return to their home country, or elsewhere. Sometimes this is a temporary move, but quite often they are moving back permanently and seek to abandon their green card. Even if they don't seek to, they may have been deemed abandoned involuntarily.
An immigration officer has a discretion to conclude that you have abandoned your permanent residency at the border upon re-entry. The officer needs to be convinced that you remain a resident of the US, in order for you to remain in permanent residency status.
If you find yourself in this position – you are thinking about or have returned to your home country, you should consult with a US immigration attorney regarding the correct steps to take. If you know that you will be out of the US for a relatively short period of time, an application for a re-entry permit can be made explaining the reason for not temporarily being resident in the US. Ideally this should be done prior to departing the US.
It may also be that you intended to leave the US for a very short period and now find that you have left for more than one year. What does this mean? Generally it means that you have involuntarily abandoned your permanent residency status. There may, however, be a way for you to rectify the situation if you wish to return to the US on your green card. An immigration attorney can assess your situation and decide upon the best approach. Whether you want to keep your green card or not, you should certainly get the appropriate advice as it is not as straight forward as you may think!
If you have any questions regarding your green card and immigration status, as well as any other US immigration matters, please do not hesitate to contact our firm on:
+44(0)203 102 7966 or firstname.lastname@example.org