The recent Executive Orders issued by President Trump have created very high levels uncertainty for so many immigrants, even those not from the seven countries subject to the current travel ban. The term “lawful permanent resident” seems like a permanent status but it now it is more important than ever for lawful permanent residents (LPR) to understand when they may be subject to removal from the U.S. for abandonment and how it may be avoided when traveling abroad.
For purposes of naturalization eligibility, temporary or brief travel usually does not affect permanent resident status; however, when traveling as a LPR, if Customs and Border Protection (CBP) determines that there is a need for further questioning upon re-entry, a secondary inspection at the port of entry is required. As a guideline, CBP is accustomed to asking for evidence of the lawful permanent resident’s status and ties to the U.S. from the traveler. This information can be hard for the returning lawful permanent residents who spend a lot of time outside the U.S. and particularly if not prepared before arrival to the U.S. to demonstrate that they have no intention to abandon lawful permanent resident status.
Although only a judge may make an abandonment finding, CBP may have a separate belief that the lawful permanent resident has abandoned his or her residence and try to have the lawful permanent resident sign a statement to relinquish permanent residence, Form I-407, and leave the U.S. CBP may consider any length of absence from the United States, even if less than 180 days. Consult an immigration attorney before you start living and/or working outside the United States for any period of time.