If you're currently a green card holder (lawful permanent resident) and you are thinking of leaving the U.S. to return to your country of origin or some other county, our Houston immigration lawyers have put together some key pieces of information for you to consider.
What is Green Card Abandonment?
Green card abandonment is when a lawful permanent resident has left the country with the intent of making another country their primary home. It is important to realize that if you are a green card holder and plan on traveling for an extended period of time lasting more than 6 months but not more than a year, you will likely be questioned about whether you have abandoned your residency. Additionally, if you stay away longer than 1 year and fail to notify immigration services, then it is presumed that you have abandoned your residency. There may be some cases where you could regain your green card, but doing so would be much harder.
If you knowingly plan on leaving the country for an extended period of time up to 2 years, then it is possible to file for a re-entry permit. Filing for a re-entry permit will allow you to be outside of the US for up to 2 years without facing green card abandonment. Please contact our office if you wish to apply for a reentry permit.
How could it be beneficial?
If you plan on leaving the U.S. to take up permanent residence in another country, abandoning your green card could be your best option. For example, if you have a family member who is sick and you wish to spend your time at home to care for them and you're positive you'll be away longer than 1 year, you may wish to abandon your green card. Otherwise, if you do not file the proper I-407 form and legally abandon your green card, it will be much more difficult to regain a green card in the future should you ever return to the U.S. However, before you decide whether to keep or abandon your green card, please schedule a consultation with our Houston immigration lawyer so that he can guide you through the process.
Will I still be able to apply for a Visa?
Yes. Once you've abandoned your green card status, if you still plan on returning to the United States to visit family or vacation, you are able to apply for a visa.
What if I want to re-apply for my Green Card? Will my previous abandonment be used against me?
No. If you willingly abandoned your green card by filing an I-407 form, your actions will not be used against you should you decide to apply again in the future.
How do I file for Green Card Abandonment?
In order to file for green card abandonment, you need to file an I-407 form. These forms can be found at the website of the U.S. Embassy or consulate that serves your home country. Once there, search for "1-407" which should lead you to a pdf form and instructions on how to complete the form. You can also contact our Houston immigration lawyer who can prepare all of the necessary paperwork so that you can be sure everything is filled out properly.
Unsure on the best option for you? Call Attorney Simon today!
As a Chilean immigrant himself, Attorney Simon is a knowledgeable, experienced immigration attorney who has your best interests in mind. At Simon Law Group, we work diligently to make sure you get the answers you need. We offer services in English and in Spanish.