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What Happens to a Permanent Resident (Greencard Holder) Who is Abroad for More Than 180 Days Because of Covid-19 Shutdowns?

There are many Permanent Residents who have been outside the U.S. for more than 180 days and are unable to return to the U.S. due to shutdowns for Covid-19 shutdowns around the world.  The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) says that a Lawful Permanent Resident (“Greencard holder”) is regarded as seeking an “admission” into the U.S. if that Greencard holder has been absent from the U.S. for a continuous period of more than 180 days [INA § 101(a)(13)(C)(ii)].  Seeking an “admission” is like coming into the U.S. afresh and has quite a few implications for the Permanent Residents, such as when new Immigration Rules are added those new rules will apply to the Permanent Residents who are seeking admission. For example, the USCIS has implemented a new Final Public Charge Rule, which will apply to Permanent Residents who are seeking admission, that is, those Permanent Residents who are entering the U.S. after being abroad for more than 180 days.

Another, and perhaps more important, consideration is that if a Permanent Resident is returning to the U.S. after having been abroad for more than 180 days it may create a “presumption” that they have have abandoned their permanent resident status.

This means that Permanent Residents who are returning to the U.S. after being outside the U.S. for more than 180 days can be questioned further when they re-enter the U.S.

Things to Consider for Permanent Residents Returning to the U.S. after 180 days Abroad:

A returning Permanent Resident should consider having evidence with them when they re-enter the U.S. to show that they have ties to the United States, and that perhaps evidence to prove that they are not likely to be considered a Public Charge.

As a returning Permanent Resident you should carry some proof with you that you were not able to travel back to the U.S. because of the shutdowns, but you have maintained and intend to maintain your ties to the U.S., and that you had no intention of abandoning your Permanent Residence in the U.S.  Some examples of the kind of evidence that you should have with you are:

  1. You have a residence in the U.S. that you have no intention of abandoning, this can be evidence such as, documents showing your ownership of a home or rental agreement;
  2. Letter from your employer showing you have been employed in the U.S., and if you are self-employed, some proof of your business;
  3. Ownership of other properties, cars, etc. in the U.S.;
  4. Home, auto, health insurance in the U.S.;
  5. Bank accounts, investments, etc. in the U.S.;
  6. Utilities and other bills, etc. in your name; and
  7. Any other documents that show your residence and primary connection to the U.S.


In addition, if you are deemed to be seeking an admission to the U.S., and you are not exempted from it, you should be prepared to show that you are not likely to be deemed a Public Charge under the new Final Rule. A few examples of such evidence are:

  1. Evidence of your household income and assets showing at least 250% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for your household size (e.g., annual income of $31,905 for one person or $43,100 for family of two, or $65,500 for a family of four);
  2. If you are employed, evidence of your employment and income, and if you are self-employed, evidence of your income from your business;
  3. Evidence of your private health insurance; and
  4. Evidence of your assets and/or investments.

If you have any questions about this or other immigration needs, contact us. We are available for free consultation, please call us at 801-269-9541 or call or text us 801-577-1988 (cell) or 801-637-5556 (cell) or contact us online.


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