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EB-5 Question of the Week: How can I maintain my permanent resident status in the United States?

Permanent residents in the United States are issued a valid Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551), also known as a Green Card, as proof of their legal status. One of the fastest routes through which one can obtain permanent resident status is through participation in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. The EB-5 program allows foreign investors to receive Green Cards for themselves and their qualifying dependent family members through an investment of $800,000 in a new commercial enterprise in the United States.

If you are a permanent resident who is 18 years of age or older, you must carry proof of your immigration status to present to an immigration officer or law enforcement officer upon request. A Green Card can be valid for 10 years, and must be renewed prior to its expiry or if the holder’s name changes. To replace or renew your Green Card, you must file Form I-90 (Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card). Form I-90 must be submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) along with a filing fee of $455.

To maintain your permanent resident status, you must have the intent of residing in the United States. You may lose your permanent resident status if you abandon it by leaving the U.S. to live abroad permanently with the intent of giving up your permanent resident status. Your intent is demonstrated by your conduct. Here are a number of ways you can decrease the chances that the U.S. government will find you inadmissible to maintain your permanent resident status:

      • You must not leave the United States for an extended period of time unless your trip is for a temporary purpose (i.e., to attend school or take care of a family member). If you will be absent from the United States for a year or longer, you should apply for a re-entry permit prior to leaving the United States by filing Form I-131 (Application for a Travel Document). If you are absent from the United States for a year or longer and have not applied for a re-entry permit, the U.S. government may find that you have abandoned your intent to reside in the United States and may not allow you to use your Green Card to enter the country.
      • File federal, state, and local (as applicable) income tax returns and report your income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
      • Provide your new address to USCIS within 10 days of your relocation by filing Form AR-11 (Change of Address).

Temporary or brief travel outside the United States is generally not sufficient to place you at risk of losing your Green Card. That said, if the U.S. government determines that you did not intend to make the U.S. your permanent home, you will be found to have abandoned your permanent resident status. Generally, the U.S. government will look at whether you have been absent from the United States for more than a year. Abandonment may be found in trips of less than a year where the U.S. government is of the belief that you did not intend to make the United States your permanent residence. Factors that will be considered include but are not limited to whether your intention was to visit abroad only temporarily, whether you maintained U.S. family and community ties, maintained U.S employment, filed U.S. income taxes as a resident, maintained a U.S. mailing address, kept U.S. bank accounts and a valid U.S. driver’s license, or own property or run a business in the United States. Other factors supporting the nature of your absence from the country may also be considered by the U.S. government in determining whether you have maintained your intent to permanently reside in the United States.

With over a decade of experience in the EB-5 industry, our team of U.S. licensed lawyers and professionals at The American Legal Center are well equipped to assist you and your family  with your migration journey to the United States. If you are interested in finding out more about the EB-5 program, contact our team today for a complimentary consultation. 

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