Maintaining Permanent Residence – VIDEO
Congratulations, you have become a permanent resident of the United States. The slang way to say it is you have a “green card.”
Now that you are a permanent resident, you need to maintain the status until you can become a U.S. citizen. Most people are eligible to apply for citizenship 5 years after becoming permanent residents. Some, such as spouses of U.S. citizens, are eligible to apply for citizenship after 3 years.
Generally, you can only lose permanent resident status if convicted of certain types of crimes or if the government concludes for some reason that you have “abandoned” the United States as your primary residence.
According to the USCIS website, an absence from the U.S. of any length might result in the loss of permanent residence. If you plan to leave the U.S. for 4 months or longer, or if to leave repeatedly, our firm advises obtaining a Reentry Permit.
This will serve as proof that you do not intend to abandon the U.S. as your primary residence, even if you will be overseas for an extended period.
Apply for the Permit as soon as you know you’ll be traveling, since you’ll need to remain in the U.S. for 3-6 weeks after applying, until USCIS takes your biometrics . . . or fingerprints.
Also, maintain as much documentary evidence you can of your continuing U.S. “residence.”
– File all required tax returns
– Keep your financial accounts in the U.S.
– Continue to rent or own a home here
– And keep your driver’s license or State ID current.
The more documentation of your continued U.S. residence, the better.
Nothing in immigration law is guaranteed, but normally your Reentry Permit permits you to remain outside the U.S. for any length of time.Make sure to return before the Permit expires, or Customs and Border Protection might seize your PR Card in the airport and tell you to get on the next plane home. If you insist on keeping your Card in that situation, CBP might put you into a deportation proceeding in the Immigration Court. Then you’ll be in for a battle.