Florida Immigration Attorneys

Travel Abroad and Loss of US Resident Status

Can I Lose Permanent Residency If I Travel Outside the U.S.?

Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) that depart the US for long periods of time and return once every six months can be in danger of losing their resident status. Even if you return to the US every several months for a few days, Customs and Border protection (CBP) can still revoke your resident status.

The CBP may find that lawful resident status has been abandoned even if the trip outside the US is a brief trip.

What Factors Affect Whether or Not You Will Lose Permanent Residency?

Determining if a 'green card' holder has abandoned permanent residency status is not dependent upon only the amount of time spent outside of the U.S.

CBP officers are more interested in where a person actually makes residence than the length of time spent outside. The length of time and amount of travel are only some of the few factors used by CBP in their determination.

Factors that affect your residency status include such things as:

  • The number of years the person has lived in the U.S.;
  • Where the green card holder is employed in the US or abroad;
  • Where family members live; and
  • If U.S. income taxes are paid.

When Is Permanent Residency Considered "Abandoned?"

Certainly, long periods of time more than six months are a strong indicator of residence. If travel is over one year it is presumed residence has been abandoned.

Some other items that may lead CBP officers to believe the green card holder has given up US resident status include:

  • Other employment outside the US,
  • Immediate family members who live abroad,
  • Return on a charter flight particularly when most passengers are non-residents with return ticket abroad,
  • No fixed address in the U.S.,
  • Or frequent prolonged absences from the U.S.

What Can I Do To Show Evidence of Residence in the U.S.?

As residence is the principal concern for CBP determinations, the traveling resident should be prepared to show evidence of residence.

Items such as the following can serve as evidence:

  • Tax retuns
  • Rent receipt,
  • Valid driver's license, and
  • Credit card receipts¬†

Tips If You Are Traveling Abroad for Long Periods

If undertaking significant travel abroad, whether frequent travel or long periods of travel, it is advisable to obtain a re-entry permit before travel commences. A reentry permit while not conclusive evidence of maintaining lawful resident status, it is another indicator that the foreign national is maintaining residence in the US.

Call to Discuss Your Immigration Case

If you have questions about your immigration-related matter, contact our team at Brown Immigration Law. We have decades of experience handling complex immigration cases, including those involving residency and lawful permanent resident status. 

Schedule a consultation today.