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Can a trip affect your permanent residency?

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2020 | naturalization & citizenship

As a permanent resident in Texas, you have certain rights and responsibilities. In addition, you have an obligation to retain your residency. When you receive a green card, this does not mean that you cannot lose your permanent residency. In fact, many people have to be careful when it comes to travel outside of the United States. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explains that you are free to travel to other countries. The length of your trip, however, could affect your permanent resident status. It is crucial to know what affects residency before you plan your trip. 

It is possible to abandon your permanent residency. This happens if an officer determines that you did not plan to make the U.S. your permanent home. Generally, you do not have to worry about brief trips. Officers look at your records. They look to see if you paid your income taxes, if you have family and community ties or retained U.S. employment. In trips that are under a year in length, it has to be clear that you plan to return. 

If you plan to leave for more than a year, then you will want to apply for reentry before you leave. This prevents you from having to apply for a returning resident visa. Now, if you are gone for more than two years, then you need to apply for a returning resident visa. Be careful, because absences for more than six months can disrupt the naturalization process. If you are worried about this disruption, then you can always file an Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization purposes.