Green card holders who are abroad and cannot currently travel back to the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic should consider keeping evidence of U.S. ties for re-entry.
As a lawful permanent resident (green card holder), absences of more than 180 days to one year may create a “presumption” that you have abandoned your permanent resident status.
This could lead to questioning at the border upon re-entry to the United States.
Therefore, it is recommended that you carry evidence with you that you could not travel back (return) to the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as evidence that you have maintained ties to the United States.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of some of the things you may be able to show as indicia that you did not intend to relinquish your lawful permanent residence in the U.S.:
- Maintain a residence in the U.S. This can be through the ownership of a home or renting an apartment.
- Maintain bank accounts, credit cards and investments in the U.S. to show financial ties.
- Maintain insurance in the U.S., including home, health, and life insurance.
- File U.S. tax returns at your U.S. address.
- Having utilities in the permanent resident’s name also helps, as does& a driver’s license and car ownership.
Be prepared for questioning by a CBP Officer when you re-enter at the border, and be prepared to explain why you could not travel back to the U.S. in a timely manner. You may want to take a look at the USCIS website page which helps explain the things you will want/need to do to maintain your permanent resident status.
After returning to the U.S., those permanent residents who anticipate having to stay abroad for extended periods of an aggregate of 180 days or more may consider applying for a reentry permit. An application for a reentry permit only can be done while physically present in the U.S., as reentry permit applications cannot be filed while abroad.