Traveling Abroad Without Losing My Permanent Residence

Updated: Feb 18

There are only a few ways that you can lose your permanent residence status after you have received it. These include the following:

- If you have committed fraud because your marriage was found invalid or you did not actually have a qualifying investment, you could lose your status.

- If an immigration judge issues a final removal order against you for a variety of reasons, you could lose your status.

- You could also lose your permanent residence status if you intentionally abandon it. Most of the time, this applies to people who move to another country and intend to live there permanently. However, it can also happen if you remain outside of the U.S. for an extended period of time.

So, what happens if you are planning on going on a vacation to another country? You worked so hard to obtain and maintain your permanent residence status and you aren't sure if it's such a good idea to throw it all up in the air and leave the country. However, this is not the case, and we will explain why.

International Travel is Permitted

It is a common misconception that, if you leave the country, you will lose your status. This is not so. You only abandon your permanent residence when you remain outside of the U.S. for an extended period of time, unless you intended to only be gone for a temporary reason. You can show this by presenting the reason for your trip, how long you intended to stay away, and events that prolong your absence if you are having trouble returning. Perhaps there were family troubles back in your home country that you need to settle. Perhaps you lost a loved one.

You can truthfully leave as many times as you want, as long as you do not intend to stay outside of the U.S. for longer than a year. If you do intend to be away for a year, such as taking care of a family member who is ailing or doing business, you must apply for a re-entry permit with USCIS. These are valid for 2 years when you obtain one. If you only take a temporary travel abroad, such as a trip that lasts for a few weeks, you will still need to show documentation when you re-enter. This includes presenting your green card and any other documents like a national I.D., Driver's License, and passport.

You should also know that, if you take an absence from the U.S. for 6 months or more, you could be disrupting your continuous residency requirements if you are considering naturalization in the future. If you are taking a trip for longer than a year and you want to prove continuous residency, you will need to file an Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes, Form N-470. You should always have an attorney on your side to preserve your rights and walk you through the immigration process. We can help in your time of need. Call us today at the Sky Law Firm for more information on how we can help, at 657-500-0011.