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Don’t Risk Losing Your Green Card


As a legal permanent resident of the United States, the time you decide to spend abroad could cause you to run into trouble if you decide to leave the country for more than six months or only stay for short periods of time. Although you may be doing something as innocent as visiting family, this activity may lead to you being charged with green card abandonment, and potentially have it taken away. These are just examples of scenarios you may run into at the airport.

You successfully dodge a bullet. The immigration officer will likely bring your extended amount of time away into the conservation and perhaps scold you about it, but you manage to keep your green card. Definitely consider staying in the United States for at least six months or more before taking off again.

You’re asked to give up your green card. The officer may ask you to sign what’s called an I-407 which will grant you a B1/B2 visa but results in loss of the green card. Unlike your green card, this visa simply means you’re a visitor. You should be aware that signing the I-407 is entirely voluntary and it is strongly advised that you not sign it if you don’t have another way to re-file for your immigration visa. You can always bring this before a judge, but signing the I-407 works as strong evidence against you.

You’ll need to see an immigration judge. You will be allowed to enter the United States, albeit as an arriving alien who will need to speak to an immigration judge about contesting a green card abandonment charge. Until the judge makes his or her decision regarding your resident status, you will be allowed to retain your status as a green card holder and you’ll still be able to work. You’ll be required to attend a hearing where you’ll need to make convincing arguments and provide documentation that it was never your intention to abandon your green card even though you spent more than six months abroad.

This information is provided by Miami bankruptcy lawyer Alonso, Perez & Santos, LLP. Our areas of practice include bankruptcy, insurance litigation, debt harassment, credit card defense, foreclosure defense, immigration law Miami, condominium law, business start-ups, and more. Call 305-676-7545 to speak with one of our attorneys and receive a free consultation. We look forward to working with you.

This information is provided for educational or informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice.