A Green Card holder must never abandon the intention to reside permanently in the United States. This is not so easy for people who need to settle matters (school, job, selling property, etc…) in their own country before being able to permanently move to the U.S. In order to keep the Green Card while spending a lot of time outside of the U.S., a lawful permanent resident must need to take certain precautions as proof that he/she intends to continue residing in the U.S. These include, but are not limited to:
- Keeping track of your U.S. entry-exit dates. Entering the U.S. as frequently as you can; but at least once a year;
- Obtaining a reentry permit if you are planning to have extended periods of absence from the U.S.;
- Filing Tax Returns as a resident for both federal and local tax purposes; this might mean that you need to declare all your income outside the U.S. even if you don’t have to pay taxes on it. (Bring copies of all tax returns with you when you enter);
- Maintaining a U.S. address, even if the address is the home of a friend or relative;
- Keeping your U.S. bank and credit card accounts active;
- Maintaining a U.S. Social Security Card and keeping it with you when you return to the U.S.;
- Keeping your U.S. Driver’s License or local I.D. cards up to date by renewing them. Make sure that the address on your license is the same as that recorded on any immigration documents.
- Continuing the ownership of your U.S. property, renting your residence rather than selling it if at all possible;
- Keeping copies of your employment contracts or the documents demonstrating the reasons of your travels;
- Registering with the selective service (for males between 18-26 years of age);
- Making sure to renew your Green Card if/before it expires;
· Don’t return to the U.S. using any form of non-immigrant visa. If you are not allowed to go through the CBP with your Green Card, don’t offer to enter with your previous Non-Immigrant visa.
Proving your continued intention to stay in the U.S. can be difficult in today’s immigration climate. Please consult with our office to know about your options.
Remzi Guvenc Kulen Esq.
Kulen Law Firm, P.C.