Maintaining Permanent Resident Status During Stays Abroad

If you are a green card holder who will be abroad for a prolonged period of time, you should plan ahead regarding whether and how to maintain your lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. It’s a myth the you can preserve LPR status just by entering the U.S. once every 6 months and filing U.S. tax returns. Failure to follow the rules could lead to loss of your LPR status through abandonment and to ineligibility for naturalization. Planning ahead can save time, money, and frustration. Our firm can help with:

  • Form I-131, Application for Travel Document (Reentry Permit)
  • Form I-131A, Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation)
  • Form N-470, Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes
  • Form DS-117, Application to Determine Returning Resident Status (SB-1 returning resident visa)
  • Form I-407, Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status
  • Determining whether you  are eligible for naturalization
  • Gathering evidence of the reasons for and temporariness of your departure from the U.S. and stay abroad
  • Planning for what ties to keep in the U.S. while you are gone, what ties to cut, and what ties would be good or bad to establish abroad, such as a home or other real estate, employment, bank accounts, investments, etc.
  • Planning for Federal and state tax filing issues such as claiming a foreign-earned income exclusion or filing as a nonresident

If you are at risk of being charged by U.S. Customs and Border Protection with abandonment of LPR status, our firm can help you plan for seeking to reenter U.S., such as:

  • Choosing a port of entry
  • Deciding whether to enter alone or with others
  • Carrying a proper entry document or applying for a waiver
  • Carrying evidence for why you departed the U.S. and stayed abroad, as well as of your ties to the U.S., and perhaps a short legal memo from your lawyer
  • Answering questions that may be posed to you by the CBP officer
  • Anticipating potential problems, such as:
    • Secondary inspection
    • Deferred inspection
    • What if the officer suggests signing Form I-407, Abandonment of Permanent Residence?
    • Notice to Appear for a removal (deportation) hearing in Immigration Court

Schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer in Beijing, Shenyang, Shanghai, or Los Angeles; or by phone, Skype, WeChat, or FaceTime. Our goal is to become your trusted legal adviser.

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A growing number of  lawful permanent residents ("LPRs" or "green card holders") are relinquishing their status. According to the below article from South China Morning Post, the main reason is the costly and complex U.S. tax system.  Both U.S. citizens and permanent residents are taxed based on their worldwide income, including income ...
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