Know Before You Go:

Green Card Holders: Did you know that you could risk losing your Green Card by staying out of the country for an extended period of time? Permanent Residents who stay abroad for over 6 months could risk abandonment of their legal status. There are many complicated rules when it comes to immigration law, and it is important to be aware of these rules so that you don’t risk losing your green card by making a simple travel mistake. There are many legitimate reasons for traveling abroad, such as visiting your family, or just taking a vacation, but if you know that you will be planning an extended absence from the United States, there are special precautions you must take so that you don’t lose your legal status. First, before leaving the U.S. for an extended stay, make sure that you have ties to the United States that show that you have a life over here, and are not temporarily here on vacation. Any stays over 6 months are likely to catch the attention of the Customs and Border Protection Agents. CBP officers at any border crossing point have the authority to question Green Card Holders about their travels to see if they have abandoned their status. Officers may ask questions like: “How long have you been out of the country?” – “What was the purpose of your trip abroad?” — “What countries did you visit?” – “What ties did you leave in the United States?” – “Why are you coming back to the U.S. now?”   These officers have access to your departure and arrival history, meaning they can...