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Old 18.11.2011, 13:27
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Any US green card holder living outside of the US for more than 5 years?

We have green card and we have been living outside of America for 5 years due to my husband job. So far we have no problem entering the US since we have re-entry permits. Now that we can't apply for another one, I would like to know if there is anyone in similar situation and doyou have a hard time entering the US? Can they take back your card at the border? We do pay US tax!
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Old 18.11.2011, 13:34
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If you wanted to naturalize you need 5 consecutive years present, with perm residency, before you can apply. But you cant lose your residency for not being there.

Edit: actually, I am wrong. ignore me.

Edit again: (from some lawyers website) In determining whether a person has abandoned his residence, the courts have generally looked at the following factors: a. Purpose of departure; b. Existence of fixed termination date for visit abroad; and c. Objective intention to return to U.S. as place of permanent employment or actual home.
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Old 18.11.2011, 13:38
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Re: Any US green card holder living outside of the US for more than 5 years?

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We have green card and we have been living outside of America for 5 years due to my husband job. So far we have no problem entering the US since we have re-entry permits. Now that we can't apply for another one, I would like to know if there is anyone in similar situation and doyou have a hard time entering the US? Can they take back your card at the border? We do pay US tax!
If you canNOT get another re-entry permit then you should surrender your I-551 to the Embassy. It is better to do this now and then re-apply for your green card when you can re-establish permanent residency.

If you arrive in the US and you do not have a re-entry permit, and you've established that you are no longer a resident (absent more than 1 year and lacking a bona fide, physical presence inside the US), you could have your green card and your passport held in a case file, and be given a date with an immigration judge who will decide if you still have right to residency. If the judge revokes your residency, then you will not have the same facilitation you would have had, had you surrendered it once you were no longer a resident.

Since your travel documents would be held, then you would have to remain in the US until the hearing -- meaning that if you actually have to return to Switzerland or wherever else for any reason, then you will have delay your departure from the US. Therefore it is in your interest to surrender your green card if you are in fact no longer truly a PERMANENT resident of the United States. As Indian Citizens, this also means that for any future travel to the US, you will require a visa. Please remember... if you are using your re-entry permit because you want to avoid the visa requirement, this too is an abuse of the law and of residency privilages.

If your husband is in Switzerland employed by a US company, paid in US dollars, and you continue to pay US taxes and file US tax returns and can show this, then by all means I would encourage you to show that you are still invested as permanent residents of the United States. Otherwise, you might need to ask yourselves honest and difficult questions about where your home really is, and what your proper immigration status is when you travel to the United States.
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Old 18.11.2011, 13:57
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I am currently in the same boat green card holder living in Switzerland for about three years. The rule is to maintain ur green card residency status u must not be out of the country for longer then a year, so what I don't is enter the country for one week vacation every year before the 1 year period is up and then the timer starts again. I asked someone at the TSA about this and he said as long as u enter once a year then you should be fine.
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Old 18.11.2011, 14:21
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Re: Any US green card holder living outside of the US for more than 5 years?

thank you for all your input
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Old 18.11.2011, 14:26
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Re: Any US green card holder living outside of the US for more than 5 years?

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I am currently in the same boat green card holder living in Switzerland for about three years. The rule is to maintain ur green card residency status u must not be out of the country for longer then a year, so what I don't is enter the country for one week vacation every year before the 1 year period is up and then the timer starts again. I asked someone at the TSA about this and he said as long as u enter once a year then you should be fine.
You should be fine... hahaha...famous last words.

US officials can make you surrender your card "voluntarily" on the spot - (the easy way) - or you can contest it (the hard way), in which case you'll lose as you don't reside in the US.

Trust me on this - I don't wish to go into the gory details but I know what I'm talking about.

However, keep up your vacation ploy - you may stay lucky or you may not.

Good luck though.
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Old 18.11.2011, 14:27
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Re: Any US green card holder living outside of the US for more than 5 years?

I wish, I wish, I wish I had a greencard....
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Old 18.11.2011, 14:45
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Re: Any US green card holder living outside of the US for more than 5 years?

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I am currently in the same boat green card holder living in Switzerland for about three years. The rule is to maintain ur green card residency status u must not be out of the country for longer then a year, so what I don't is enter the country for one week vacation every year before the 1 year period is up and then the timer starts again. I asked someone at the TSA about this and he said as long as u enter once a year then you should be fine.
That is patently false. Not to mention that TSA -- the Transportation Security Administration -- has absolutely ZERO authority for immigration law.

If you go back every year for one week, you are not a resident. You are a visitor. This means you need to give up your I-551 and get a tourist visa.

True... you can be absent for up to a year, but once you exhibit a pattern where the majority of your presence is outside of the United States then you are no longer considered a permanent resident.
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Old 18.11.2011, 14:47
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Re: Any US green card holder living outside of the US for more than 5 years?

The period abroad can be longer to be still considered a US resident / maintain your USGC, if the US resident works for a US company abroad.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 18.11.2011, 14:49
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Re: Any US green card holder living outside of the US for more than 5 years?

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The period abroad can be longer to be still considered a US resident / maintain your USGC, if the US resident works for a US company abroad.

Just my 2 cents.
In that type of circumstance, it has to be communicated to USCIS and a re-entry permit must be obtained.
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Old 18.11.2011, 15:18
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Re: Any US green card holder living outside of the US for more than 5 years?

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That is patently false. Not to mention that TSA -- the Transportation Security Administration -- has absolutely ZERO authority for immigration law.

If you go back every year for one week, you are not a resident. You are a visitor. This means you need to give up your I-551 and get a tourist visa.

True... you can be absent for up to a year, but once you exhibit a pattern where the majority of your presence is outside of the United States then you are no longer considered a permanent resident.
Well I did that for 7 years until I surrendered my Green Card and although I got asked a few times at the immigration desk, I had no problems. Usually I would be travelling to the US for business and only staying 1-5 days. The only time I had a problem was when I "forgot" to return to the US within one year. I had some sort of brain fart and started to think it was once per calendar year. On that occasion I was going to be fined for that re-entry (can't remember the correct term) but the fine was waived. The officer took the time to clearly explain to me that if I returned within 364 days then I would be fine. And that was from an INS officer. So, yes, the rules do state that you have to be fully resident and not just return to the US, but in reality it comes down to guys you meet at the desk. Maybe I was very lucky, but that is my experience of living outside of the US for an extended period with a Green card.

I surrendered mine when it was due to expire earlier this year.

EDIT: Just remembered that at the time when I was going to be fined and the rules were explained to me, the officer told that when I am ready to return permanently to the US (his words, so he was obviously aware I didn't live there permanently) that I should apply for a re-entry permit then. I was told the same by a few other desk officers during my various entrys.
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Last edited by TitanTurbo10; 18.11.2011 at 15:21. Reason: Added info
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