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Living in the USA is a massive opportunity for many people to fulfill their potential and improve their quality of life. However, from time to time, we all need to get back to our homeland or go on a long journey. If you are one of these people, you should be aware that staying outside the USA for a long time without knowing the consequences may affect their right to permanent residence or the right to obtain citizenship.

The right to permanent residence in the US is a valuable privilege that should be carefully guarded because it can be lost under certain conditions. This is due to two main reasons: when a resident left the United States as his principal place of residence, he broke the law or, in another way, became an undesirable person. However, this article will explain how long trips outside the USA can contribute to losing a green card. Do not worry, however; we will give you the answer to what you can do if it has already happened. With ImmigrationPath, you will learn how to replace a Resident Card.

How long you can leave the USA

The most common reason for losing a green card is to leave the United States for too long.
  • Absence in the US for up to 6 months does not cause any consequences.
  • A trip for 6 to 12 months may cause questions at the border; it is better to be prepared for it.
  •  An absence of more than 12 months may be equivalent to the abandonment of the United States by an immigration inspector and also interrupts the continuity of residency.
The green card gives you the right to enter the US, but only if absent for less than a year. If you plan to stay abroad longer, try to get the so-called white passport (travel document). If unexpected circumstances stop you in your homeland for more than a year, get a visa for returning permanent residents in the American consulate.

Conclusion: a more than 12-month absence of a permanent resident in the US exposes you to losing a green card. It interrupts the continuity of stay necessary to obtain citizenship.

Intentions to stay outside the USA.

Staying longer than a year outside the US does not automatically cancel the green card; it is only a factor confirming the intentions of abandoning the status of an American permanent resident. The second factor is intentions when you leave the country and stay abroad.

When assessing intentions, the immigration office is guided by objective facts indicating a resident solid relationship with the United States. They can ask about the length of stay outside the US, the purpose of departure, facts showing a planned return to the USA, tax returns, and other relationships with the US, such as ownership of real estate, bank accounts, credit cards, driving license, the housing of close family members and place of employment.

Your intentions may also affect the decision of the immigration office to take away your permanent resident status if you have not exceeded the limit of one year outside of the US.

How can you Replace a Resident Card?

We know that the perspective of losing residential status may seem petrifying, so in ImmigrationPath, we will help you Replace your Resident Card. All you need to do is complete the form I-90, which you can find on our website, and go through the process to ensure your Eligibility to stay in the USA. 

How to avoid trouble on the border

If you return to the US after a long absence, be ready to prove on the border the following issues:
  • A temporary reason for your departure, e.g., holiday, illness, or death in the family.
  • The planned initial length of the trip, e.g., a month (keep the air ticket as proof).
  • Unexpected circumstances that have kept you abroad and an uninterrupted intention to return
  • Your uninterrupted ties with the United States.
Here are some evidence of having ties with the USA: waiting for a job (you are on vacation or free vacation), family, regular tax returns, owning a flat or a house in the US, US driving license, bank account, credit card.