What should I do as a Green Card holder if I no longer live in the US?
You may have worked hard and waited years to receive your Green Card. It can be an exciting day and the start of a new wonderful opportunity to live as a permanent resident in the US. However, as Green Card holder, you have to reside and have the center of your life in the US. This can sometimes pose an issue. You may have a good job opportunity come up abroad or a family member who you want to be close to.
If you need to leave the US, you can first apply to freeze your Green Card. This means for a period of two years, you don’t need to enter the US to maintain your Green Card, which would otherwise become invalid after a year abroad without setting foot on US soil. Therefore, it’s important to check if freezing your Green Card is the right step for you.
An experienced US immigration lawyer can go through your immigration history and advise you on the best course of action. They can also assist you throughout the process, including filing the necessary forms and putting together the required evidence.
If you are moving away from the US permanently, you’ll have to give up your Green Card. Since you are no longer a resident of the US, you are no longer fulfilling the requirements of being a Green Card holder. This process should be completed as soon as possible after your relocation. This requires filing a form and sending in your physical Green Card to the US authorities.
The same isn’t true for US citizens. Therefore, if you were a Green Card holder and have now become naturalized as a US citizen , you can use your US passport to move abroad and no longer be a US resident if you want. Note, however, that US citizens are still required to file taxes in the US even if they reside abroad.
Although it can be extremely frustrating to give up your Green Card, you may be able to apply again in the future. For example, if you are married to a US citizen, your spouse can apply for a Green Card on your behalf (even if they had already applied in the past). This eligibility will continue as long as you are legally married and are still a couple. If you separate and divorce, you will no longer be eligible for a Green Card application through your spouse.
What happens if you don’t give up your Green Card? You will no longer have a valid way to enter the US. If you try and enter the US on your Green Card despite the fact that you no longer reside in the US, you may be sent back to your home country. The border control officer can cancel your Green Card. We also see instances where the officer at the border provides the Green Card holder with the form to give up their Green Card and advises that this is the last time they will be able to travel using this document.
If you give up your Green Card, you can go on to apply for a B1/B2 visa, which will allow you to visit the US for up to 6 months at a time. It is important to accurately fill out the form and to specify that you previously held a Green Card. When attending your interview, you should bring along the regular required documents as well as proof of your Green Card cancellation being approved.
If you are a Green Card holder and are considering leaving the US, it’s a good idea to get legal advice before moving. This will allow you to make an informed choice about your next move. Our law office, [partner_names_en], can assist you, whether you are still in the US or if you have already moved abroad. We will start by advising you of your options and recommending a course of action. We can then handle your process until you have received all the required approvals you need. Call us today to book your initial consultation at 03-372-4722.