Maintaining Permanent Resident Status (2023)

Go toFAQ

International Travel

(Video) How to Maintain PR Status in Canada

U.S. immigration law assumes that a person admitted to the United States as an immigrant will live in the United States permanently. Remaining outside the United States for more than one year may result in a loss of Lawful Permanent Resident status.

U.S. government personnel (military and direct-hire civil service employees) and their spouses and minor children who hold Lawful Resident status of the United States may remain outside of the United States for the duration of an official overseas assignment plus four months without losing their resident status. Exceptions exist for family members ofmilitary service members.

All other immigrants who hold Lawful PermanentResident status and reside outside of the United States for more than one year without prior approval from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must obtain a new immigrant visa to return to the United States. Prior approval from USCIS consists of a re-entry permit which can only be applied for in the United States. The holder of a USCIS re-entry permit may remain outside of the United States during the validity period of the re-entry permit, normally up to two years. For more details on applying for a re-entry permit please visit theUSCIS website.

(Video) Canada PR Residency Obligations - How Long Do You Need to Stay in Canada?

A former immigrant who has lost permanent resident status and desires to return to the United States as an immigrant must obtain a new immigrant visa based on either an approved immigrant petition or Returning Resident status. A U.S. relative (spouse, parent, offspring, or sibling) or U.S. employer mayfile an immigrant petitionon behalf of the former immigrant in the normal manner. Information on the varioustypes of immigrant and employment based petitionsare contained elsewhere in this website.

An application for Returning Resident status requires evidence of the applicant’s continuing, unbroken ties to the United States; that the stay outside the United States was truly beyond the applicant’s control; and that the intent of the applicant was to always return to the United States. Evidence may consist of continuous compliance with U.S. tax law, ownership of property and assets in the United States, and maintenance of U.S. licenses and memberships. Having U.S. relatives, attending school overseas, or stating an intent to return is generally insufficient.To apply for Returning Resident status, seeReturning Resident Visas Checklist.

A Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) of the United States who has stayed abroad for less than one year or within the validity of I-327 (re-entry permit)and wishes to re-enter the United States has to present a Green Card (Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card) in order to be permitted to board a flight to the United States. If your Green Card has been lost, stolen, or damaged, you can apply for a Boarding Foil, which permits the airline to transport you back to the United States. For more details please visit our page on Boarding Foils.

(Video) Maintaining Permanent Residence

Expired/Expiring Green Card
If you are outside the United States and your Green Card will expire within six months (but you will return within one year of your departure from the United States and before the card expires), you should file for your renewal card as soon as you return to the United States.

If you have one of the following items, a boarding foil is not required:

  1. An expired Permanent Resident Card with a 10-year expiration date
  2. An expired Permanent Resident Card with two-year validity, AND a Form I-797, Notice of Action, indicating that status is extended.
    If you have an expired Green Card with a 2-year expiration date AND a Form I-797, Notice of Action, showing that you have filed a Form I-751 or Form I-829 to remove the conditions on your Permanent Resident status, the Form I-797 extends the validity of the card for length of time specified on the form.
  3. Orders from the U.S.government (civilian or military) showing that time outside the Unites States was on official government business.
  4. A valid re-entry permit

If you meet the criteria above, consult your air carrier prior to completion of an I-131A and payment of the fee.


Re-Entry Permit

If you plan to stay outside of the United Statesfor more than one year but less than two years, you will need a re-entry permit for readmission. You must be physically present in the United Stateswhen you file the Form I-131 to apply for the permit. A re-entry permit may be sent to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad for you to pick up, if you request it when you file your application. Departure from the Unites States before a decision is made on a re-entry permit application does not affect the application.

Generally, a re-entry permit is issued for two years from the date of issuance. However, a re-entry permit issued to a Conditional Resident is generally valid either two years from the date of issuance or until the date by which the Conditional Resident must apply for removal of the conditions on his or her status, whichever date comes first. There are other exceptions; please contact USCIS for details.

(Video) Permanent Residents -- How to Maintain Green Card Status?


How long can I stay out of the U.S. as a permanent resident? ›

Remaining outside the United States for more than one year may result in a loss of Lawful Permanent Resident status.

Can I stay more than 6 months outside U.S. with green card? ›

If you are a lawful permanent resident (green card holder), you may leave the United States multiple times and reenter, if you do not intend to stay outside the United States for 1 year or more.

How long can you stay out of the country with a green card? ›

Yes, you can travel abroad as a green card holder — that's one of the many benefits of being a permanent resident. However, your trip must be temporary and you cannot remain outside the United States for more than 1 year.

What happens if I stay more than 1 year outside U.S. with green card? ›

If you stay outside of the United States for 1 year or more and did not apply for a reentry permit before you left, you may be considered to have abandoned your permanent resident status. If this happens, you may be referred to appear before an immigration judge to decide whether or not you have abandoned your status.

How do I maintain my green card while living abroad? ›

8 Steps to Maintaining Permanent U.S. Residence While Residing...
  1. Maintain and use U.S. savings and checking bank accounts. ...
  2. Maintain a U.S. address. ...
  3. Obtain a U.S. driver's license. ...
  4. Obtain a credit card from a U.S. institution. ...
  5. File U.S. income tax returns.

Can a permanent resident live outside the US? ›

From time to time, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) of the U.S. choose to reside abroad for extended periods of time. Extended family demands, business needs, corporate transfers, and other factors may cause a U.S. permanent resident to take up temporary residence outside of the U.S.

Can a US permanent resident be denied entry? ›

The same is true for lawful permanent residents: you generally cannot be denied entry to the United States, but declining to answer questions may result in delay or further inspection. Refusal by non-citizen visa holders and visitors to answer questions may result in denial of entry.

What is the 4 year 1 day rule for U.S. citizenship? ›

The 4 year 1 day rule mostly works as follows. Once you've broken continuous residency, a new period will begin to run on the first day you return to the U.S. Form the day you must stay in the U.S. for a minimum of 4 years and 1 day before you can apply for naturalization again.

What is the 6 month rule for permanent resident? ›

An absence of more than 6 months (more than 180 days) but less than 1 year (less than 365 days) during the period for which continuous residence is required (also called “the statutory period”) is presumed to break the continuity of such residence.

What is the 90 day rule green card? ›

What is the 90 Day rule? According to the 90-day rule, an alien who engages in conduct inconsistent with their nonimmigrant status within a 90 day period of entering the U.S. may become inadmissible for the green card or even permanently barred from entering the US.

What is the 4 years and 1 day rule? ›

Four Years and One Day Rule

An applicant who is subject to the 3-year continuous residence requirement may apply 2 years and 1 day after returning to the United States to resume permanent residence. This is known as the “four years and one day” rule and is described in 8 CFR §316.5(c)(1)(ii).

What happens if you don't carry your green card all the time? ›

Failing to have your green card with you is a criminal misdemeanor. If you are found guilty you can be fined up to $100 and put in jail for up to 30 days.

What is the 2 year rule green card? ›

Some exchange visitors with J-1 visas are subject to a two-year home-country physical presence requirement. It requires you to return home for at least two years after your exchange visitor program. This requirement is part of U.S. law, in the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 212(e).

Is green card only valid for 2 years? ›

A conditional permanent resident receives a Green Card valid for two years. To remove the conditions on your permanent resident status, you must file a petition within the 90-day period before your conditional Green Card expires. Use our Filing Calculator to determine your 90-day filing date.

How do I maintain my US address while living abroad? ›

Overseas Mail Forwarding Services

The most convenient way to maintain a functional U.S. address while living abroad is to use a virtual mailbox service that you can activate online. This service scans, holds, and offers mail forwarding services for a few dollars per month.

Do I have to live in the US to keep my green card? ›

Leaving the United States for less than six months is usually not a problem. An absence of six to 12 months triggers heightened USCIS scrutiny, and an absence of more than 12 months leads to a “rebuttable presumption” that LPR status has been abandoned.

What can permanent residents not do? ›

Permanent residents cannot vote in federal, state, or local elections.); and. Required to register with the Selective Service, if you are a male age 18 through 25.

Can a US permanent resident travel without a passport? ›

Lawful permanent residents of the U.S. need to show a Permanent Resident Card (Green card). A passport is not required. Citizens of Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda must present a valid passport from their country to travel to the U.S. by air.

What is 7 year rule for citizenship? ›

That citizen has been ordinarily resident out of India for a continuous period of seven years, and during that period, has neither been at any time a student of any educational institution in a country outside India or in the service of a Government of India or of an international organization of which India is a ...

What is the 10 year citizenship rule? ›

The ten year rule refers to the residency limitation placed on criminal deportation in s. 201 of the Migration Act. Under existing law, once a "permanent" resident has lived in Australia for ten years he or she is no longer liable for criminal deportation.

What is the 15 year rule for citizenship? ›

The second rule is known as the "55/15" waiver. It says that if you are age 55 or older and have lived in the U.S. as a green card holder for at least 15 years, you can have the citizenship interview and exam conducted in your native language. Again, the 15 years do not need to have been continuous.

Can I stay 5 months outside US with green card? ›

How Long Can a Green Card Holder Stay Outside the United States? You can stay outside of the U.S. for as long as you want. What you need to avoid, however, is being regarded as having abandoned your lawful permanent resident status.

What is abandonment of permanent residence USA? ›

Abandonment of LPR status occurs when the LPR demonstrates his or her intent to no longer reside in the United States as an LPR after departing the United States. In addition, abandonment of LPR status by a parent is imputed to a minor child who is in the parent's custody and control.

Can a permanent resident get deported? ›

Even someone with a green card (lawful permanent residence) can, upon committing certain acts or crimes, become deportable from the United States and removed.


1. Maintaining Lawful Permanent Residence Status in the United States
(Integrity Legal Thailand)
2. Residency Obligations for Permanent Residents
(Akrami & Associates Immigration Law Firm)
3. How long can a Green Card Holder stay Outside the US? The easiest way to lose your Green Card
(I.S. Law Firm - Immigration to the US)
4. Maintaining Permanent Residency Status in Canada While Working Abroad | Imm Lawyer | Raj Sharma
(Jag Punjabi)
5. Canada PR Residency obligation - 5 year period clarity
(Monish on the West Coast)
6. Permanent Resident of Canada but Working Abroad? This is What you Need to Know
(Sharma Harsanyi)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Trent Wehner

Last Updated: 07/20/2023

Views: 5417

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Trent Wehner

Birthday: 1993-03-14

Address: 872 Kevin Squares, New Codyville, AK 01785-0416

Phone: +18698800304764

Job: Senior Farming Developer

Hobby: Paintball, Calligraphy, Hunting, Flying disc, Lapidary, Rafting, Inline skating

Introduction: My name is Trent Wehner, I am a talented, brainy, zealous, light, funny, gleaming, attractive person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.