I am applying for an immigrant visa and my goal is permanent U.S. residence. Can my green card ever be taken away?

Yes. Once you receive a green card, there two major conditions that could cause it to be revoked. The first is if you are convicted of a serious crime; the second is if you abandon your U.S. residence.

“Abandonment of residence” is the most common reason immigrants jeopardize their permanent residence. While you are allowed to travel with your green card, you must not establish a permanent residence anywhere other than the United States. If you stay out of the country for too long, USICS may assume that you have abandoned your U.S. residence.

If you will be out of the country for an indeterminate amount of time, you should:

  • Apply for a re-entry permit. Depending on the length of your absence, your green card may not be used as a viable U.S. entry document. You must apply for a reentry permit from USCIS before you leave the country.
  • Maintain your residence. Actions such as closing your U.S. bank accounts, selling property, or taking family members with you may be seen as abandoning your home in the U.S.

It is important to note that naturalization laws also require immigrants to be physically present in the U.S. for a period of time before they may acquire U.S. citizenship. Our attorneys can help protect you and your family if you need to travel abroad suddenly.