Unintentional Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status: Causes, Consequences and Prevention

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Becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) of the United States is often a long and difficult process for foreign nationals. Obtaining LPR status leads to a multitude of benefits, including the freedom to live and work anywhere in the U.S., as well as qualify for social welfare programs and government financial aid for higher education. It is also one step closer to becoming eligible for U.S. citizenship. Permanent residence may be obtained through a U.S. citizen or LPR family member, employment, investment, asylum or refugee status, and the diversity lottery. Regardless of how the person became an LPR, he must have the intent to reside permanently in the United States and take precautionary steps to prevent the unintentional abandonment of his LPR status.

The question of abandonment depends on the person’s intent rather than the length of time he spent abroad. Nonetheless, the longer one spends outside the U.S., the harder it becomes to show that he intended to return to the U.S. and live here permanently.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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