U.S. Law Center

Can I lose my green card?

As a green card holder in California, you are able to enjoy many of the freedoms that are part of living in the United States. However, even though you are a permanent resident, there are rules that you must follow when you leave the country in order to retain your green card while you are away. Forbes magazine explains that there are many things you can do to establish your home in the United States that may prevent the loss of your permanent residency status if your return is delayed.

Having ties to the United States provides an indication that you plan to return to the country from your trip abroad. This could include a job that you or your spouse has in the United States, and school attendance for your children. If you have bank accounts, a house and a driver’s license in California or some other state, these are also evidence that you consider this country your home.

If you are out of the country longer than six months at a time, your green card is at risk. At that point, you will have to prove to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection that although you left the country, you had a good reason for doing so, and you always meant to return before the limit. You must have a valid reason for the delay, and you must provide evidence of the ties you have established, as well. Because your case will be examined on the individual circumstances, this general information should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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