How long can you be out of the US if you have a green card, without losing your status?

A neighbor of ours got her green card in May of 2008. She went to see her family overseas in July. Now it is January 2009 and neither her nor her family can afford to buy her a plane ticket back to the US. Will she lose her green card and have to start over again? She has a baby that was born in the US.



  1. Pink
    0 Votes

    A green card is just what it says, Permanent residency. She can stay out of the country as long as she wants.

  2. Dina
    0 Votes

    a green card is permanent residence , she can stay as long as she wants.

  3. Sweetharttt
    0 Votes

    I thought with a green card that one could be out of the country for no more than six months at a time without the government considering the card to be abandoned. I would call and see if that holds true. If so, I would ask for special permission. Otherwise the process might have to be started all over again.

    The fact that she has a US child makes no difference.

  4. Fred S
    0 Votes

    She’s allowed to be outside the U.S. for up to one year. If she stays outside the U.S. for more than a year, she will need a SB-1 immigrant visa to return to the U.S. That’s an additional expense on top of the airfare.

    Her child who was born in the U.S. can come back at anytime.

    It’s too late for her to apply for a re-entry permit so the SB-1 visa is her only hope if she is gone for more than a year.

    According to section 101(a)(31) of the INA, the term “permanent” means a relationship of continuing or lasting nature, as distinguished from temporary, but a relationship may be permanent even though it is one that may be dissolved eventually at the instance either of the United States or of the individual, in accordance with law.

    A permanent condition can come to an end.

  5. Bonne année/Happy new year
    0 Votes

    one thing for sure? she cannot stay out of the US as she wants to.
    International Travel
    A Permanent Resident of the United States can travel freely outside of the US. A passport from the country of citizenship is normally all that is needed. To reenter the US a Permanent Resident normally needs to present the green card (Permanent Resident Card, Form I-551) for readmission. A reentry permit is needed for reentry for trips greater than one year but less than two years in duration.

    You can find more information about travel documents from “How Do I Get a Travel Document?”
    Maintaining Permanent Residence
    Maintaining Permanent Residence You may lose your permanent residence status if you commit an act that makes you removable from the United States under the law in section 237 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. If you commit such an act, you may be brought before the immigration courts to determine your right to remain a Permanent Resident.

    You may be found to have abandoned your permanent resident status if you:
    Move to another country intending to live there permanently.
    Remain outside of the US for more than one year without obtaining a reentry permit or returning resident visa. However in determining whether your status has been abandoned any length of absence from the US may be considered, even if it is less than one year.
    Remain outside of the US for more than two years after issuance of a reentry permit without obtaining a returning resident visa. However in determining whether your status has been abandoned any length of absence from the US may be considered, even if it is less than one year.
    why did she not get a round trip ticket?
    she should have gotten reentry permit first before traveling,

    where is the child now?

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