The previous post covered many potential issues with travelling with a green card, as well as what constitutes breaking continuity of residence. This post will focus more on what is considered residence abandonment, and the potential punishments associated with it.
The determination of whether or not you have abandoned residence is discretionary, and based on a large number of circumstances, one of which is whether you have just returned from a temporary visit abroad. The 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals classifies a “temporary visit abroad” as one that “(a) is for a relatively short period, fixed by some early event, or (b) the trip will terminate upon the occurrence of an event that has a reasonable possibility of occurring within a relatively short period of time.”
So basically, if you normally spend months outside the US, and only return for brief periods of time, also known as touching US soil, then you are risking being found to abandon residence.
If you read the previous post, then you know that an absence less than 6 months can’t disrupt residence for naturalization, it can still be classified as abandonment of lawful permanent resident status. For example, if a permanent resident gives up their home and job in the US, and gets a home and job in their home country, they can be at risk for having their green card taken away by a border patrol agent, even if the trip was less than 6 months.
To make sure the entire process runs smoothly, it’s very important to make sure you always have a job and home here in the US, don’t take trips longer than 6 months outside the US, and try to limit taking too many long-term trips back-to-back.
If you must take a long-term trip outside the US, then there is a special visa to apply for, which will be covered in the next post.