How long can I live outside the US with my green card? 3 Answers as of August 24, 2010

I am thinking about going back home to the Philippines. I have a green card. What is the maximum amount of time that someone with a green card can live outside of the United States?

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Pacifica Legal Services
Pacifica Legal Services | Floyd Fernandez
The bottom line is the following: Assuming you do not apply for a reentry permit before you leave, the maximum stay is 1 year. If you apply for a reentry permit before you leave, the maximum stay in the Philippines is 2 years. If you wish to stay longer than two years, you will need both a reentry permit and a returning resident visa.

You must apply for the reentry permit before you depart the US. You do not necessarily need to receive it before you leave. If you stay longer than 2 years, there is no guarantee you will be able to get a returning resident visa.

Note, your US green card may be taken away if your travel record suggests that you reside outside the US more than in the US. So, coming to the US for two weeks every 11 months will at some point result in cancellation of your green card and an inability to return to the US using the green card.

If there is anything else I can be of help with you about, please call or e-mail me. Best to you in your plans.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/24/2010
JCS Immigration & Visa Law Office
JCS Immigration & Visa Law Office | Jack C. Sung
1. The law says if you leave the US for less than 6 months as a green card holder, it is fine. If you leave the US for more than 6 months but less than 12 month then you are presumed to have abandoned your green card, unless you rebut this presumption with your evidence that you have not abandoned your green card in the US. Evidence such as tax filings in the US, ownership of house and cars, bank account, employment in the US, are helpful to rebut the presumption that you have abandoned your green card.

2. If you leave the US for more than one year, it is likely that your green card will be revoked for abandonment.

3. If you want to leave the US for more than 1 year, you should apply for a re-entry permit on Form I-131.

4. If you need assistance please contact me by phone or email.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/21/2010
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