Permanent Residence Lawyer | What Is Permanent Residency? Can I Lose My Permanent Resident Status?

Permanent residence is an immigrant status that allows a person to reside and work in the U.S. indefinitely. The document that proves someone’s status as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) is the so-called green card.” As a permanent residence lawyer, Barbara Marcouiller helps clients seeking to gain lawful permanent residency in the US.

If you have questions about obtaining or retaining your permanent resident status, we invite you to complete the contact form or email our office for an initial review by our experienced permanent residence attorney.

Can I Lose My Lawful Permanent Resident Status?

Despite its indefinite nature, permanent residence can be lost!  Most commonly it is lost through certain criminal convictions or abandonment.

How Can A Green Card Be Lost Through Abandonment?

Absence from the U.S. for six months to a year can lead to a rebuttable presumption of abandonment, which requires legal argument and evidence to prove U.S. residency was not abandoned.  With some exceptions, if a green card holder is out of the U.S. for 365 days, this will constitute abandonment of residency.  We have successfully argued our client had not abandoned their residency even when they were out over 365 days, so it is important to discuss the specific facts of your situation with us.

Can I Contest a Presumption of Abandonment of Permanent Residency?

Yes. “Rebuttable presumption” means that the law presumes the residency was abandoned, but an individual can rebut that presumption by showing evidence that he or she maintained their primary residency in the U.S., and never intended to abandon it. Normally, a permanent residency lawyer can help with this process.

What Should I Do If I Am Alleged to have Abandoned My Permanent Residency?

If you are charged with abandonment, it will be highly beneficial to retain an experienced permanent residence abandonment attorney to analyze the strength of your situation and to advise and represent you in your case.  The issue of abandonment is one on which our firm is very experienced and pleased to review your case with you to determine if you would like our assistance.

How Do Questions of Abandonment of Permanent Residency Arise?

The question of abandonment usually arises in two situations:

  • upon re-entry to the U.S., and
  • when applying for citizenship.

When a permanent resident is returning, to the U.S. after being abroad, the inspector at the airport or other port of entry will review the LPR’s passport and the various entry and exit dates. The inspector may then advise the individual that it doesn’t appear that he or she is residing in the U.S.

At that point, the inspector may:

  • allow the person into the country with advice that this is a potential issue, encouraging the individual to consult an attorney before leaving again, or
  • the officer may place that person into removal proceedings and require the individual to respond to the charge and present evidence to the immigration judge.

Even if an officer didn’t advise the LPR upon re-entry to the U.S., the issue of potential abandonment will definitely come up when the LPR applies for U.S. citizenship.  As a result, an LPR may believe that they are about to become a U.S. citizen only to find their case denied.  If the person then is not successful in replying to the abandonment issue, the person may be subject to removal.  This is another reason that naturalization needs to be taken as seriously as earlier steps in the immigration process, and properly reviewed by an experienced immigration attorney prior to filing the application!  Someone in this situation, who could be deemed to have abandoned their residency, but who was readmitted to the U.S. may re-establish residency by waiting to apply for naturalization for 4 years and 1 day from resuming physical residence in the U.S.   This is a very technical point that you should discuss with an experienced immigration attorney for details!

Can I Be Outside of the Country for More Than 6 Non-Consecutive Months?

There seems to be some “conventional wisdom”, that if an LPR returns to the U.S. and isn’t out for six months consecutively, there isn’t an abandonment problem. As an example, the conventional wisdom is that an LPR can be out 5 months, and in for 2 weeks, and out for 4 ½ months and in for one month, etc., as long as they aren’t out for 6 months straight. We believe that is risky behavior!  At some point upon reentry the CBP officer will say you aren’t actually living in the U.S.  If you are in that situation, we recommend you call us to consult about the circumstances that are keeping you out of the U.S. to discuss a better path for you.

What is a Re-Entry Permit, and Do I Need to Apply for a Re-Entry Permit If I Am a Permanent Resident?

If you know you will be out of the U.S. for 6 months or longer, you may want to apply for a re-entry permit. You must apply before you leave the country.

A re-entry permit allows an LPR to be out for up to 2 years. We recommend a consultation with us for more detail on this issue.  You may still need evidence that you maintained your U.S. residency.

Need Assistance Seeking Permanent Residence? Complete the contact form or email our office for an initial review or to schedule a meeting with an Experienced Permanent Residency Lawyer.

Seeking to obtain or retain your permanent residence in the U.S.? At Marcouiller PLLC, as a permanent residency law firm, we specialize not only in helping you achieve permanent residency but also in handling cases involving the loss of permanent residence and abandonment issues.  It’s best to contact us before you plan to be out of the U.S.  for an extended period.

Take the first step toward securing your future – We’re here to discuss your specific needs and provide experienced legal guidance tailored to your situation.

This is general information and does not constitute legal advice; each case must be analyzed independently. Nothing here creates an attorney/client relationship; each potential client must set up an appointment for proper analysis, and written agreement if after a full analysis we both agree in writing that we accept to represent the case and you also agree that you want us to represent your case as detailed specifically in the written contract.

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