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Maintaining Your Green Card

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While Working Overseas

NOTE:  This article is intended to be a brief summary of law only, parts of which may or MAY NOT be applicable to your situation.  While an effort is made to keep this info. up-to-date and accurate, this article was not written with your situation in mind and thus DOES NOT constitute legal advice.  Only an immigration attorney, one familiar with U.S. immigration law, should counsel you in this area.

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Joe should be able to get U.S. citizenship by the end of 2007 or in early 2008.  (The average wait is 6-9 months, but it can sometimes be up to two years, depending on the U.S. district office at which he applies.)

Note that because in the above example, Joe will remain outside the U.S. for more than 6 months (i.e., from July 2005 to May 2006), he will be questioned by U.S. border officials more intensely when he re-enters the U.S. in June of 2006 and will have to affirmatively prove intent to maintain permanent residency (see II.C. above).  However, if he can honestly state that he has fulfilled all of the requirements and suggestions in II.A&B above, he should have little difficulty and he probably won’t even need an attorney.  ;=)

IV.   The Role of the Immigration Attorney

NOTE:  The above example and suggestions are not guaranteed to produce the same results for all individuals.  Because individual situations vary so widely, it is impossible to encapsulate every possible example of how every possible U.S. green card holder in every possible situation should act.  That is what an immigration attorney will do for you:  apply the law and suggested practices directly to the particular facts of your situation and make recommendations to you accordingly.

That having been said, it can be stated with certainty that if a green card holder traveling or living and/or working outside of the U.S. does not adhere to the rules mentioned in parts I. and II.(a) above, and does not follow the suggestions in part II.(b) above, maintaining his/her green card and getting his/her application for citizenship approved will undoubtedly be much more difficult.  Referring again to the example of Joe Green, if Joe were to come back to the U.S. in 2005 to stay for only a month or less (e.g., in the above example, returning to the U.S. in June of 2005 and return to China the next month), he would be questioned heavily by Customs agents regarding the veracity of his permanent residence not once, but twice.  There would thus be a higher probability that his application for citizenship would be rejected in 2007/8, requiring him to either restart his continuous residency period or hire an attorney to appeal the rejection.

Jump Behind

in this Document:

Maintaining Your Green Card While Overseas


Maintaining Continuous U.S. Residence
While Overseas

Green Card Requirements

Green Card Suggestions

Green Card Misconceptions


A Sample Plan for Maintaining U.S. Permanent Residency While Overseas


The Role of the Immigration Attorney

See Also:

Green Card for Overseas Family Member


Forms Required

Permanent Residency - Spouse

Permanent Residency - Parent


Other Documents
Required for Green Card

Residency Status

U.S. Citizenship Status

Family Status

Marriage Status

Financial Qualifications


Costs of Applying for a Green Card


Where to File Green
Card Documents

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