Attention US Permanent Residents. Don’t make this common mistake

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Hey guys! In today’s text we will discuss an important topic that every permanent resident should be aware of: protecting your status by avoiding the involuntary loss of your green card. The mistake many new legal permanent residents make is believing that once they obtain a green card, their status in the United States is secure. However, this is not necessarily true. Permanent Residents can potentially lose their green cards if certain precautions are not taken, especially regarding extended travel outside the country. In this article, we will explore essential information to help you protect and preserve your status if you need to travel abroad for an extended period.

Maintaining your Status as a Legal Permanent Resident

As a green card holder, you are authorized to travel in and out of the United States. Under normal circumstances, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, if your trip exceeds a certain duration, it may trigger challenges related to maintaining your status. As a rule, if your travel period is 180 days or less, you will have no problems seeking re-entry into the United States. However, there are exceptions and scenarios where even shorter trips can present challenges, such as if you settle in another country. It is important to note that as a lawful permanent resident, you must demonstrate an intent to reside in the United States.

When it comes to trips of more than 180 days outside the country, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) may question your efforts to maintain your status upon re-entry, as there is a presumption of abandonment of residency. This presumption can be rebutted by evidence. Some examples are: proof of continued employment in the US, presence of immediate relatives in the country and even demonstration that the applicant maintained full access to or continued to own or rent a home in the US.

Extended Travel and Green Card Validity

If you spend a year or more outside the United States without a Reentry Permit or beyond the validity period of your reentry permit, your green card alone will no longer be sufficient to seek admission to the country. In these cases, you would need to apply for an SB-1 Returning Resident visa. The SB-1 visa is intended for individuals who initially planned to leave the United States for a limited period but, due to circumstances beyond their control, such as the death or illness of a loved one or work obligations, were forced to remain abroad. . By obtaining the SB-1 visa, these individuals can demonstrate their intent to return to the United States despite the extended absence.

The Importance of a Reentry Permit

Of course, there are times when you have a good indication that work or family responsibilities may require an extended period of time outside the US. To mitigate the risks associated with extended travel, green card holders who anticipate spending significant time outside the United States should consider applying for re-entry permission before leaving the country using Form I-131.

A re-entry permit is a travel document similar to a passport. Its main purpose is to protect lawful permanent resident status when traveling for extended periods. The validity of the re-entry permit may extend up to two years, depending on recent travel history. With your re-entry permit in hand, you are legally presumed to have maintained your status as a lawful permanent resident, regardless of the duration spent outside the United States.

Re-entry Permission and Protection of Your Green Card

The following examples demonstrate how a re-entry permit can protect your status in different scenarios.

If you leave the United States for more than 180 days and have a valid re-entry permit, this helps establish a legal presumption that you did not intend to abandon your green card. This presumption can improve your chances of reentering the United States without complications.

Likewise, if you spend a year or more abroad but have a valid re-entry permit, you can use it in conjunction with your green card to re-enter the United States, eliminating the need for an SB-1 Returning Resident visa. . While a re-entry permit offers additional protection, it is important to note that it does not guarantee absolute safety. The legal presumption it creates can be challenged with evidence presented by opposing parties, such as public information found on social networking sites.

Looking to the Future with Citizenship Application (Form N-400)

Not only can extended travel abroad without appropriate precautions impact your green card status, it can also affect your U.S. citizenship application. Form N-400 requires