Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status in the US is a privilege that can be revoked. It means that you can lose your LPR status even after you have already received a Green Card. It is possible for you to lose LPR status under certain extreme circumstances.
You will lose your LPR status when you abandon your permanent residence in the US, or when you become deportable for committing a serious crime or violating US immigration laws. It is very important that you maintain permanent residence in the US.
Many are of the belief that after getting a Green Card, they can travel freely back and forth or even relocate to their home countries. They also think that they can always reenter the US using their Green Cards as a travel document. Though an absence from the US does not automatically result in cancellation of the LPR status, an extended absence will however trigger the question of the alien’s intention to remain a permanent resident of the US.
Your intention to remain a permanent resident in the US is an important factor in the USCIS determining whether you have abandoned your permanent residence in the US. Apart from how long you have been absent from the US, the USCIS will look to many other facts that reflect your intent. The main factors that are considered in determining your intent are:
– the length of the your absence from the US and the purpose of your departure
– filing of US tax returns while in a resident status
– the location of your close family members
– the location and nature of your employment abroad
– the maintenance of other ties with the US
It is important to note that no single factor mentioned above is controlling with regard to your intent to maintain permanent resident status. The USCIS officers will analyze all other relevant factors to come to a decision.
Generally, if you leave the US for one year or less, you can use your green card as a reentry document. However, if you are absent from the US for more than one year, you might face difficulties reentering the US because the USCIS considers the absence of longer than one year as a possible abandonment of US residency. If you will be out of the US for more than one year, you will need to get reentry permits or special immigrant visas.
There are certain green card holders who think that in order to keep their LPR status, they can just return to the US once a year and stay for a few weeks. Just returning to the US and using the Green Card once a year has little bearing on the question of whether you have maintained the intention to remain a permanent resident.
Though some return to the US more frequently than once a year, they tend to lose their LPR status because they lack sufficient ties with the US that indicate that they consider the US to be their country of permanent residence. You can have multiple residences, but make sure you show that the US residence is the permanent one.
So if you wish to maintain your green card status, it is best advised to take the necessary steps to establish sufficient facts evidencing that you continue to maintain strong ties with the US and are retaining the US as your permanent home.