The U.S. green card is, without a doubt, one of the most coveted documents the world over. While becoming a U.S. citizen is usually the ultimate goal, a green card offers plenty of benefits such as the right to live and work anywhere in the United States.
However, the green card comes with certain limitations. One of these is that your green card can be revoked for a variety of reasons. One of these involves green card abandonment.
So what amounts to green card abandonment?
The determination as to whether you have abandoned your permanent residency status largely depends on your intent as evidenced by your conduct. For starters, it is important to understand that permanent residency does not quite mean “permanent.” To uphold your status as a permanent resident of the United States, you must make the U.S. your home for life.
That said, two circumstances can amount to an abandonment of your green card. These include:
Staying abroad for too long
As a permanent resident, you can travel in and out of the U.S. as you wish. However, staying out of the country for an extended period can cause problems. Specifically, staying abroad for over 12 months can amount to abandonment. To be safe, do not stay out of the country for more than six months. Also, avoid frequent travel in and out of the country as this can cause problems with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Voluntary surrender of your green card
Although you are a lawful permanent resident, you can voluntarily vacate this status by surrendering your green card. To do this, you will be required to file and submit form I-407. On this form, you provide your contact information and reasons for abandoning your green card.
The green card offers plenty of opportunities. Find out how you can protect your right to live in the U.S. if your status is under threat.