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Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.
Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq., Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 108328
Experience:  10+ years of experience in various aspects of U.S. Immigration Law.
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I've been a US card holder since 2003. In September 2013, I

Customer Question

I've been a US green card holder since 2003. In September 2013, I applied for a re-entry permit to be allowed to stay 2 years in my native country (Peru). This re-entry expires on 9/30/15 and I will be returning to the US prior to deadline. Three questions:
1. After this re-entry expires, must I re-apply for a new re-entry permit if my plans are to travel back to Peru for a few months in october 2015 to stay there a few months for medical care?
2. If I don't reapply for re-entry permit, can I just continue to travel outside the US and 'return' to the US every six months to avoid losing resident status?
3. Can immigration at port of entry, take away green card if they see that I'm spending prolonged periods outside the US?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello! My name is***** and I am a licensed attorney with more than 13 years of experience. I am here to assist you with your questions. Please understand that if I ask you for additional information, you are NOT charged again and our communications are NOT timed. So please see this as a relaxed conversation between friends. I am here to help.

Is the Re-Entry Permit you are on the first one that you have had? What is your plan when you come back to the U.S.? You have to understand that they call it Residency because you are supposed to be residing in the U.S. to maintain it.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Its the first re-entry that I have had. I do understand I am required to reside in the US. However, I have been traveling to Peru and staying for stays just shy of 6 months. My understanding, is that I have to return to the US every 6 months to maintain my residency.
Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

No. Unfortunately that is not correct. Many people believe as you do, but that is only one of TWO rules you have to follow.

Anyone that is a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) and is outside of the U.S. for 180 days or more within any 12 month period (not necessarily calendar year) creates a rebuttable presumption of abandonment of residency. That presumption can be rebutted by evidence to the contrary such as filing U.S. taxes, maintaining a home in the U.S. and paying that mortgage or rent, maintaining a U.S. drivers license, U.S. bank accounts with significant movement, etc.

Someone that has been outside of the U.S. for more than 1 year without first having an approved re-entry permit has abandoned their residency and only in very few exceptions (such as serious illness) can they get it back.

Here is an official link:

http://www.uscis.gov/green-card/after-green-card-granted/maintaining-permanent-residence

This may become a problem in one of your trips back into the U.S., when you apply to renew your residency card, or when you apply for U.S. Citizenship.

So just to be clear the two rules are:

1) No trips longer than 180 days that could interrupt the period of continuity of Residency for Naturalization purposes, and

2) No multiple trips in ANY 12 month period (not just January to December, but for example, July to June, etc.), where those multiple trips add up to more than 180 days. So for example, let's say you take a trip to Peru from March 1 until June 1, that's 90 days, then you come back for a month and leave from August 1 until October 1, that's 60 days, then stay for a month and leave December 1 until February 1, that's another 60 days, if you add them up, that's 210 days from March 1st until February 28th, a 12 month period and that could cause you to abandon your Residency status.

As to your questions:

1) Yes, I think when you come back, you should probably apply for another Re-Entry Permit. Could you get by if it is a trip for a month or so, but it could be dangerous.

2) No for the reasons that I stated previously. You would need another Re-Entry Permit to do that. You can get one more for 2 more years. After that, they get harder and harder to get and they usually only issue them for 1 year at a time.

3) Yes. It happened to someone that became my client about a year ago. He is Canadian married to a U.S. Citizen and he was living in Canada and doing the same thing you are doing or worse because he didn't have even one Re-Entry Permit. He was planning to move back permanently, but he needed to do one or two more trips. On one of those trips, they confiscated his green card and placed him in Removal (deportation) proceedings. We were luckily able to convince the ICE trial attorney and judge that his intent was to move back because he registered a business in the U.S. recently and he had registered his U.S. Citizen children in school, etc., but it could have gone bad meaning that his wife may have had to apply for him all over again spending lots of money.

So if you are going to continue on those trips, better to get another Re-Entry Permit when you come back.

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up questions and there is no additional charge. Also, should you need to chat on the phone, private email or need help reviewing documentation, I am happy to do so for a small additional cost. Let me know if you are interested in these – I am happy to give you more details! When we are done, if you would be so kind as to leave a positive rating for my service, I would sincerely ***** ***** You can do that by clicking on the 3rd, 4th or 5th stars if you see them, or the smiley faces if you see them. You can even ask additional questions without additional charge even after leaving a positive rating. Thank you for your understanding.

Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello. I'm just following up with you to see how everything is going. Did my answer help? Please let me know. Thank you!

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