The first requirement of any investor after they receive the visa at the United States overseas consulate office is to enter into the United States within 180 days of visa issuance. The investor must then establish residency in the United States. Evidence of intent to reside includes opening bank accounts, obtaining a driver’s license or social security number, paying state and federal income taxes, renting or buying a home. Generally, all permanent residents must remain in the U.S. for more than 6 months each year, unless they obtain a re-entry permit, or they may be deemed to have abandoned their permanent residence status. A Green Card holder is entitled to live and/or be employed permanently in the United States with entitlement to all the protections of its laws. A Green Card holder may travel outside the United States, provided they do not remain outside the United States for more than one year without obtaining a re-entry permit or returning resident visa. As a Green Card holder, 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 U.S. for more than one year without obtaining a re-entry permit or returning resident visa. However, in determining whether your status has been abandoned, any length of absence from the U.S. may be considered, even if it is less than one year.
- Remain outside of the U.S. for more than two years after issuance of a re-entry permit without obtaining a returning resident visa. However, in determining whether your status has been abandoned any length of absence from the U.S. may be considered, even if it is less than one year.
- Fail to file income tax returns while living outside of the U.S. for any period.
- Declare yourself a “nonimmigrant” on your tax returns.
A Green Card holder can travel freely to and from the United States. A passport from the country of citizenship is normally all that is needed. To re-enter the U.S. a Permanent Resident normally needs to present the Green Card for re-admission. The law provides that you are free to travel abroad, provided that your trip is “temporary”. Generally, the USCIS views any absence from the United States for longer than six months as not temporary. Thus, it is advisable to obtain a “re-entry permit” before your departure.