Immigration Law Perspective – Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status – It Can Happen Automatically
This is a guest post from immigration lawyer Jan Bejar –
Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status – It Can Happen Automatically
A lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the U.S. – or in other words, someone who has a “green card” – can lose permanent resident status through removal (“deportation”) or abandonment.
First, an LPR may lose permanent resident status if he commits an act that makes him deportable, for example commission of a certain crime, and if the immigration court issues a final order of removal (“deportation”) after immigration court hearings.
Second, an LPR may abandon his or her permanent resident status. An LPR abandons his or her LPR status automatically, by operation of law, when he or she engages in an abandoning act, such as submitting a Form I-407, Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status, or by simply departing the U.S. for more than a temporary visit abroad. Completing and submitting Form I-407 contemplates a conscious choice to abandon permanent resident status. On the other hand, departing the U.S. for more than a temporary visit abroad may lack the same formality but carries the same serious consequences.
As a general matter, a permanent resident card is not a tourist vista. An LPR cannot live outside the U.S. and use a permanent resident card to visit the U.S. occasionally without maintaining signs of a residence in the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will make an abandonment finding after an LPR has taken a single trip outside the U.S. of more than one year, and the LPR can only challenge the finding in the context of removal proceedings. For a single trip outside the U.S. of six months up to one year, DHS will presume that the LPR intended to abandon his or her permanent resident status, but the LPR may rebut the presumption. Further, on a case-by-case basis, DHS may deem that an LPR has abandoned his or her residency even if he or she has not been outside the U.S. for more than six months on any single trip if he or she has spent a significant amount of time outside the U.S. on multiple trips abroad.
The factors that DHS and the courts look at to determine if an LPR has abandoned his or her permanent resident status include the purpose and duration of the trip abroad; the event abroad, if any, after which the LPR planned to return; and the LPR’s family ties, employment, property holdings, and business affiliations in the U.S. and in the foreign country. Filing a U.S. income tax return as a tax nonresident alien raises a rebuttable presumption of abandonment.
If an LPR is aware that he or she will need to spend significant time abroad, then he or she should apply for a reentry permit prior to departure. The reentry permit alone does not guarantee that the LPR will be allowed to reenter following a long absence, but the reentry permit increases the chance of admission and is evidence of the intent to return to the U.S. and maintain permanent resident status.
Jan Joseph Bejar, Esq.
For: JAN JOSEPH BEJAR,
A Professional Law Corporation