What do you need to do to preserve your status as a lawful permanent resident (LPR)? If you are abroad for 6 months or more per year, you risk “abandoning” your green card. This is especially true after multiple prolonged absences or after a prior warning by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the airport.
Feb. 1, 2017 update: It’s not clear whether the drafters of Trump’s Executive Order on “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals” overlooked the fact that the entry bar for nationals seven countries (Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen) could impact hundreds of thousands of LPRs. The EO was issued without normal interagency review. During the first hours of enforcement of the EO, some LPRs were reportedly denied entry to the U.S. This led to federal court litigation and public outcry. See, for example, these stories in The Atlantic and National Review linking to our firm’s U.S. & China Visa Law Blog. On Jan. 29, DHS Secretary John Kelly and a DHS Fact Sheet awkwardly applied to LPRs the supposedly case-by-case “national interest” exception of the ban, saying that LPRs “traveling on a valid I-551 will be allowed to board U.S. bound aircraft and will be assessed for exceptions at arrival ports of entry, as appropriate. The entry of these individuals, subject to national security checks, is in the national interest.” On February 1, 2017, Donald F. McGahn II, Counsel to the President, wrote a memo to “clarify” that the entry ban does not apply to lawful permanent residents. This appears to be a face-saving measure that amends the EO without the embarrassment of actually having Trump sign the amendment. That’s a victory, but LPRs with ties to restricted countries should still be prepared for possibly prolonged and rigorous inspection of your person, luggage, electronic devices, and social media accounts focusing on, among other issues, whether LPR status has been abandoned, religious beliefs, and political views. Continue reading “Green Card Holders Staying Abroad Over 6 Months Risk Abandonment”