From educational pursuits and work obligations to family visits and sightseeing journeys, there are innumerable reasons as to why a person would choose to travel abroad. Indeed, the proliferation of travel routes coupled with affordable airfare has served to greatly enhance the feasibility of international travel.
While U.S. citizens making the trek to another nation have relatively little to worry about concerning reentry after a prolonged absence, there are special considerations that those with lawful permanent resident -- or LPR -- status must take into account before venturing out of the country.
The number and degree of special considerations that individuals with LPR status should take into account depend largely upon the length of their absence from U.S. borders. Specifically, it depends on whether they will be absent from the country for less or more than one year.
Absent less than one year
Those individuals who are seeking to renter the U.S. after a "temporary absence" less than a year in length and with the intention of returning to their unrelinquished LPR status will be required to present officials with their Alien Registration Receipt Card, otherwise known as their Green Card.
As to what constitutes a "temporary absence," there is no clear definition, such that it will be determined on a case-by-case basis taking all of the unique circumstances and facts into account.
It's important for people to understand, however, that trips into the U.S. that are made with the intention of preserving LPR status must be "meaningful." In other words, a trip or two into the country lasting for the span of a few days likely won't prove satisfactory.
We'll continue this discussion in our next post, examining maintain LPR status after having been absent for over a year.
If you have questions concerning this process or the process of securing a Green Card, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about the law and your options moving forward.