Every year, thousands of foreign nationals earn the privilege to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely. Upon earning this privilege, these individuals are known as green card holders.
However, while the green card grants you an indefinite stay in the U.S. and its territories, it does come with certain restrictions. For instance, it can be revoked if you are convicted of certain crimes. It can also be revoked on grounds of abandonment. But what exactly is green card abandonment?
Understanding green card abandonment
One of the conditions you must satisfy as a green card holder is making the U.S. your home for the rest of your life. If you do not, you may be deemed to have abandoned your green card. Specifically, here are two instances when you can be accused of green card abandonment:
If you stay out of the country for an extended period
Besides the right to live and in the U.S., the green card also allows you to travel in and out of the country multiple times. Staying out of the country for an extended period, however, can cause problems. For instance, if you continuously stay abroad for more than one year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can accuse you of abandoning your green card.
If you voluntarily surrender your green card
Sometimes, you might want to leave the U.S. permanently for personal or work reasons. If you decide to relocate from the U.S., you will need to formally give up your green card by filling out and submitting Form I-407.
Immigration can be a complicated process. If you have questions about how to maintain your green card status or what to do if you’ve let it lapse, legal guidance can help.