Abandoned Permanent Residency

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What if I abandon my permanent residency?

Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri.

We’ve been getting some crazy questions and fact patterns in our Immigrant Home Facebook group. Now, this is a great group for us to share information, immigration news of the day. Things like that. Some nights you will put on some pretty weird fact patterns. Sometimes I have to take them down, because they’re revealing too much personal information.

In this particular case that we’re going to talk about today, about abandoning your lawful permanent resident. I left it up there, but sometimes it worries me, the questions that people have, because it just sort of demonstrates that they don’t really understand how things work.

In this scenario, a father petitioned for his two twin daughters to come from Jamaica and he got them their permanent residency. Then, I guess, either somehow he got tired of them or… He decided to send them back to Jamaica to be with their mother. They haven’t been back for six years. The poster in Immigrant Home wanted to know, “How can they come back?”

Clearly after six years of being outside the United States, their lawful permanent residence has been abandoned. They’ve been out of the United States for well over a year. Six years now, they haven’t been back and they’ve broken their residency. For all intents and purposes, their lawful permanent residence is terminated. It might not be legally terminated, but no one’s going to let them into the United States and they’re going to have to start over.

The question I had for the poster is, “How are they going to come back?” Just because you had a Green Card in the past, doesn’t mean you can revive that Green Card just when you feel like it. If your Green Card or your lawful permanent residence has been abandoned, you’re going to need an independent way to come back to the United States.

This is sort of like people that got deported. People that get deported sometimes have a bar and they think that when their bar is over, they can just come back. Nah, nah, nah. You have to have an independent new way of coming back. For instance, if the father… The girls are under 18, so if the father is willing to file I-130 petitions for them and start the whole process over, that would be the cleanest way.

They are going to have to overcome the confusion that USCIS and the State Department will have, in the fact that they had a Green Card and they abandoned it. But at the same time, if the dad is willing to sponsor them all over, or if their mother is in the United States, I don’t think she is. If she’s a US citizen, she could sponsor them. But for the most part, unless dad’s going to do it, they’re not going to have an independent way to come back. They’re also probably not going to be able to do something like get a student visa to the United States, because they’ve already demonstrated immigrant intent. They’ve already obtained lawful permanent residence status. Then they let that lapse by staying outside the United States for six years.

The government doesn’t like it when people get lawful permanent residence and then sort of give it back or abandon it. They’re going to have a tough row to hoe, but at the beginning, nothing’s going to happen unless there’s somebody willing to sponsor them, like there was before. You always have to keep that in mind. If you’re outside the United States and you had some former status, you can’t just turn the light back on and walk back into the United States. You need to start over and you need to have a basis to come back to the United States.

Hopefully that’s helpful. If you have questions about lawful permanent residence, or if you’re worried that you might’ve abandoned yours, give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. We also have this Facebook group. It’s called Immigrant Home, as I mentioned earlier in the video. We’d love to have you join us there. Just look for Immigrant Home on Facebook.

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Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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