Guessing game on green card holder status for visits abroad

Q How long can a green card holder visit a foreign country without losing permanent resident status?

Frank Oriakhi, Queens

A The law doesn’t provide precise limits on how long a green card holder can be outside the United States. The deciding issue is whether the permanent resident abandoned his or her U.S. residence. Here is an overview of the rules about travel abroad for permanent residents.

Trips abroad of up to six continuous months are rarely a problem. For trips of more than six months but less than a year, immigration can make you prove why you were abroad so long. If you have only one such trip over the past few years, it’s rarely a problem. If you are in the United States only a few weeks each year for several years, a Customs and Border Patrol officer may give you a hard time at entry. If you are planning a trip abroad of one year or more, it’s best that you apply for a reentry permit before leaving. The permit allows you to stay abroad and reenter for up to two years and you can renew it.

If returning after one continuous year or longer abroad without a reentry permit, you will need to make an extra effort to convince a CBP officer that you did not abandon your residence.

Q. I was born in Canada in 1950 to American citizen parents. Am I a U.S. citizen? We moved to the United States in 1952. I served in the military and only have recently had a problem proving my status.

NR

U.S. passport and documents.

(Nathan Blaney/Getty Images)

Anonymous, Kansas City, Kan.

A. My guess is that you are a U.S. citizen. The fastest way to get proof is to get a U.S. passport.

Whether a person born abroad acquires U.S. citizenship at birth depends on whether the parents were married, whether and for how long the parents spent time in the United States, and the law at the time of the child’s birth.

If your parents were married, since both were U.S. citizens, you acquired U.S. citizenship at birth if one of your parents had ever been in the United States.

Send questions and comments to Allan Wernick, New York Daily News, 4 New York Plaza, New York, NY 10004 or email to [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @awernick.

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