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Could I lose permanent residency by leaving the U.S.?

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2021 | naturalization & citizenship

If you hold a green card, you have the right to remain in the United States as a permanent resident. To continue your stay in the United States, you should be aware of any actions that might cause you to lose your residency status, such as leaving the U.S. and staying abroad for too long. 

You may only want to take a temporary trip abroad and have no intention of moving to another country. However, the U.S. government may believe otherwise if you stay out of the country for too long. Fortunately, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website offers some tips that might benefit you if you ever need to explain to USCIS why you had taken a trip out of the United States. 

Making a case for your absence

One way to help explain your absence from the U.S. is to describe the various circumstances surrounding your trip abroad. You can discuss why you chose to leave the country and the length of time you planned to be absent from the U.S. You may also explain any other circumstances related to your trip. 

It is possible events might happen to keep you in another country for longer than you intended. If unforeseen events occurred to delay your reentry into the United States, you should explain the nature of those events to calm any suspicions that you intended to leave the country permanently. 

Further steps to help your case

Additional steps may help convince the U.S. government that you intended only a temporary departure from the country. Before you leave, consider acquiring a re-entry permit from the USCIS. This will help prove that you intended to come back. 

If you are already in another country, another option is to acquire an SB-1 visa, also known as a returning resident visa. You may find one at the U.S. consulate that resides in the country.