Many restaurant owners and employees have “green cards” or lawful permanent residence in the United States. Most have worked VERY hard to get that coveted green card. Sometimes though it’s not getting the green card that’s the hard part, it’s keeping it. Lawful permanent resident (LPR) status implies in its name “residency”. However many green card holders still maintain ties to their home countries and travel for family or business. It’s extremely important to be aware of what you need to do to maintain your LPR status. According to the USCIS, you may be found to have abandoned you permanent residency status if you:
- Move to another country intending to live there permanently;
- Remain outside the U.S. for more than 1 year without obtaining a reentry permit or returning residency visa. However you may also be deemed to have abandoned your residency even if absent from the U.S. for less than one year;
- Remain outside the U.S. for more than 2 years after issuance of a reentry permit without obtaining a returning residency visa;
- Remain outside of the United States for more than 2 years after issuance of a reentry permit without obtaining a returning resident visa. However, in determining whether your status has been abandoned any length of absence from the United States may be considered, even if less than 1 year;
- Fail to file income tax returns while living outside of the United States for any period;
- Declare yourself a “nonimmigrant” on your tax returns;
Often it takes a lot of time and effort to obtain permanent residency status in the United States. As with anything in life, the benefits of having LPR status do not come without responsibilities to keep and maintain it. Educate yourself about your responsibilities as an LPR so you will best enjoy its benefits.