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How often can an EB-5 investor travel outside the U.S. as a permanent resident?

I became a U.S. permanent resident through EB-5 in April 2015. I stayed in the U.S. for one month and then exited in May 2015. I am planning to re-enter the U.S. at the end of September 2015 for just two weeks and then exit again for the next four months because I want to continue my job in a foreign country until mid-January 2016, after which I will permanently move to the U.S. Would this plan be executable while maintaining my permanent resident status? How frequently can I travel outside the United States as a permanent resident?

Answers

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    As a lawful permanent resident, you must maintain your intention to permanently reside in the United States. It does not matter so much how frequently you travel, but you should not be absent from the United States for more than 180 days on any single trip. If you need to spend more time outside of the United States, then you should obtain a reentry permit, which allows you to reenter the United States within two years. Keep in mind that you must maintain your intention to permanently reside in the United States, even with a reentry permit, and you should carry indicia of your U.S. residence with you when you travel. For example, you should have a state-issued driver's license, credit cards, proof of property ownership, proof of tax return filing and any other indications that you live and work in the United States. Also, remember that the residence and physical presence rules for naturalization to become a U.S. citizen are different and more strict than the rules for simply maintaining your green card.

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Permanent residency means that you have the intent to stay in the United States permanently and consider the United States as your primary residence. Staying away from the United States for more than six months creates a USCIS presumption that you may have abandoned your U.S. residency. You need to have established binding ties to the United States and show your visits to your previous home country are only visiting or temporary.

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There should not be issues for trips less than six months. If you intend to stay outside the United States for longer than one year, you should obtain a re-entry permit. You will also need to maintain ties to the United States.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You are allowed to travel; the trouble may sometimes arise upon re-entry. Sometimes the U.S. inspector will question your desire to be a PERMANENT resident. I would obtain a letter from your immigration attorney that explains your plans and have it with you when you re-enter.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There is no limitation on how often you travel or how long you stay out as a permanent resident as long as you return at least once a year - normal rule of thumb is come back once every six months or so. Thus, your travel plans as outlined should be fine. If your job situation does not change and you must work beyond January 2016, however, you may want to consider obtaining the re-entry permit that would allow you to stay out up to two years.

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    Steffanie J Lewis

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There should be no problem with your returning in September 2015. By law, six months or less is a casual visit outside the United States with no impact. Absence for more than a year will automatically result in loss of U.S. permanent resident status. However, you are a U.S. permanent resident. If you are not in the U.S. for more than the year, it appears that your permanent residence is elsewhere. We know of persons denied entrance and another who has lost permanent resident status for long periods away from the U.S. separated by short periods of stay in the U.S. We have never seen such enforcement with the absences about which you write. You should be all right. However, if you may be outside the U.S. for more than six months, and definitely if there is any possibility that you will be out for more than one year, simply obtain permission to return to your residence in the U.S. File USCIS Form I-131.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If trips are less than six months it should not be a problem. If it will be longer, I recommend obtaining a reentry permit before you depart.

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    Ying Lu

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It should not be a big problem. However, if you plan to leave the United States for a long time, such as longer than six months, I would suggest you apply for a re-entry permit.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    As a permanent resident, it would be best to limit travel outside the United States to under 180 days a year, and never 180 days outside of the U.S. consecutively. On your path to citizenship, you must be inside the U.S. more than outside the U.S. in the five years leading up to your citizenship application. You run the risk of "abandoning" your permanent residency by taking too long or too frequent trips outside of the U.S.

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    Parisa Karaahmet

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Since you are required to be residing in the United States as a permanent resident, you may want to consider applying for a reentry permit in order to protect your status until you are ready to permanently relocate back to the United States.

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    Stephen Berman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    A permanent resident can depart the United States for under six months [once] and return, with no problem.

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