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What Are Necessary Steps to Keeping United States Permanent Residency Once Obtained?

A very common reason for losing permanent residency is remaining outside the U.S. for a long period of time. Staying outside the U.S. for more than 6 months could raise questions upon your return. Generally, though, you may be found to have abandoned your residency if you have been absent from the U.S. for 1 year or more. If you know you will be out of the U.S. for 1 or more years, then you should apply for a Re-Entry Permit.

A Re-Entry Permit is a travel document issued by USCIS to permanent residents who need to reside outside the U.S. for an extended period of time, but who intend to return to the U.S. to resume their residency. Re-Entry Permits can be issued for as long as 24 months with subsequent extensions possible. Even with a Re-Entry Permit, you should still maintain close ties to the U.S., such as by maintaining active bank accounts and filing taxes. Note, however, that a Re-Entry Permit does not preserve residency for Naturalization purposes.

If you did not obtain a Re-Entry Permit prior to leaving the U.S., then you may face problems upon re-entry. However, although difficult, there still may be ways to argue that your permanent residency should be preserved.

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