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What to know before Abandoning Green Card

Many travelers wonder if it’s possible to abandon a green card. The answer is yes, but it requires understanding the complex details of U.S. immigration law and being aware of the consequences that may occur with abandonment. To make sure you’re fully informed and prepared. 

A green card is an official document that allows a foreign national to live and work in the US. However, if a person decides to leave the US for an extended period of time, they may have to abandon their residence card.

How does abandoning a green card harm some travelers? 

There are a few potential harms that can come from abandoning a green card. 

First and foremost, abandoning a green card can lead to visa cancellation, and this can in turn lead to deportation.

Additionally, abandoning a green card can impact one’s ability to travel internationally in the future, as it can create problems with re-entering the US.

Finally, abandoning a green card also means giving up all of the rights and privileges that come with being a long-term resident of the US  

Abandonment of long-term Residency Status 

Abandonment of long-term residency status occurs when someone who holds a U.S. green card voluntarily gives up their long-term residency status without going through the formal process for relinquishing their status or obtaining permission from the government to do so. 

In some cases, simply not using your green card can be seen as evidence that you have abandoned your residence in the US and are no longer interested in maintaining your long-term residency status. 

The Consequences of Abandoning Your Green Card 

If you abandon your green card and do not obtain permission from the USCIS, you will lose all rights associated with having a valid green card- including any right to live or work in the U.S., travel freely, or receive government benefits like Social Security or Medicare- and will have to apply for reentry into the country as an immigrant should you ever wish to return after leaving permanently.

Moreover, abandoning your green card may result in removal proceedings against you if USCIS has reason to believe that you have left the country with no intention of returning or maintaining any ties here while abroad. 

The list that you must think about before abandoning a green card:

You may not abandon your green card if you have been convicted of a crime or have been found in violation of immigration laws.
You may not abandon your green card if you owe more than $2,000 in taxes to the U.S. government.

You may not abandon your green card if you are subject to a final order of removal from the US.
How Does Abandonment Affect long-term residency? 

When green card holder abandons their residency in the US, they risk losing their status as a long-term resident in the US, thus creating an obstacle for them to be able to enter back into the country without facing deportation proceedings or being denied entry altogether.

Moreover, abandonment can also lead to the denial of prospective applications such as naturalization or adjustment of status because it raises questions regarding your commitment to a continuous residence in the US.  

When You Should Not Abandon Your Green Card If you are planning on leaving the U.S., but intend on returning within six months or less, then there is no need for you to formally relinquish your status as long as your trip does not exceed one year in length; however, if it does exceed one year, then you must formally notify USCIS before departing if you wish to maintain lawful long-term residency status upon returning home. 

Additionally, even if staying outside of the U.S. for less than six months, it is best practice for travelers to obtain advance parole prior to traveling abroad so that they may reenter without issue upon their return home.  

Here are the 3 benefits of having a Green Card:

The Right to Work Legally in the US- This means that you will be able to find better job opportunities, earn more money, and enjoy all the rights and privileges of being a lawful long-term resident in this country. You will no longer have to worry about possible deportation or other legal issues related to your immigration status. 
Faster Pathway to Citizenship- provide you with a faster pathway towards US citizenship than other available options. As long as you remain employed with your sponsoring employer, you will be eligible for naturalization within five years. This makes it much easier and faster for you to become a full-fledged American citizen compared to other pathways such as family sponsorship or self-petitioning. 
Eligibility for Federal Benefits- provide you Social Security benefits and Medicare coverage which are not available to non-residents or people without legal status in this country. This means that if you become disabled or experience any other unfortunate circumstances, you can receive financial assistance from the government which would otherwise be out of reach for undocumented immigrants or individuals without proper documentation or status in this country. 
Abandoning a green card is possible but should only be done after carefully considering all factors involved and understanding how it will affect future travel plans and eligibility for immigration benefits. Always consult an immigration attorney before making any decisions regarding abandonment of long-term residency status so that they may help guide you through this complicated process and ensure that all paperwork is completed correctly before departing from the U.S. Doing this will help prevent any potential issues later on down the line should you wish to return home after traveling abroad permanently or long-term