Returning Residents to the United States after loss of Permanent Resident Status

Permanent Residents, who reside for extended periods of time outside of the United States, run the risk of losing their Permanent Resident status.  If a Permanent Resident departs the U.S. for a period of more than one year without first obtaining a Reentry Permit, the Permanent Residency lapses and a new visa must be obtained before reentering the United States.

Under certain circumstances, where the absence of a Permanent Resident from the United States was beyond his or her control, Permanent Residency can be reestablished by applying for a Returning Resident status at a U.S. Consulate abroad.  In order to make such application, the Applicant must pay the appropriate fee, fill in the relevant forms and convince the U.S. Consul by substantive evidence that he or she maintained their Domicile in the United States prior to their departure, that he or she had no intention of abandoning their status, and that the cause of their protracted absence was due to unavoidable circumstances beyond their control (illness, accident, or other).  In a very limited number of circumstances the burden of proof might be less stringent, but generally the burden is high.

If the Consul concurs that there was no intent to abandon Permanent Resident Status and that the circumstances were legitimate and beyond the control of the Applicant, the Consul may approve the Application.

Upon Approval of Returning resident Status, the Applicant will be required to undergo a full process of filling in forms, providing initial Green Card evidence including a Police Certificate and Physical Examination and payment of Immigration related fees, etc.

Incidentally, many people believe that the expiration date on their Permanent Residency Card confers a status until the card expires.  This is not the case.  The Permanent Residency / Green Card is a status based on intent and residency.  If the card lapses, a new card can be requested as the residency has not lapsed.  But if a Permanent Resident does not comply with his or her residency requirement under the law, their status is deemed abandoned and the card is no longer valid.

For more information regarding Returning Residents or to schedule a consultation, Contact Us.