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Immigration Issues/green card and absence from the states


Dear Mr. Hay,
I have lived in the US for six and a half years and have had a green card for the past four and a half years. During this time I have been away from the US (not necessarily to my home country, but to various countries on travel and work) several times, totaling around 20 months. Though I have never left for more than 5 months at a time, I have heard that repeated absences might pose a problem. Will this prevent me from applying for citizenship at the end of my 5 year term?

Thank you,

The total absences may cause you problems with citizenship, but without a calendar and your passport in front of me, I wouldn't be able to say.  What to be careful about is not to stay out more than 1 year without an parole re-entry permit.  Otherwise you lose your greencard.

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Alexander J. Hay


I am a U.S. lawyer with offices in Houston, Texas and in Belize. I can answer questions on U.S. Immigration, U.S. corporate law, and Offshore Tax and Asset Planning.
If you are on an H or L visa I am NOT GOING TO ANSWER your questions since they are usually highly fact oriented, and also you have a company attorney handling the whole thing. Call your own attorney please! If you disregard this request, don't be surprised if I answer with "homework question".


I am a U.S. attorney with offices in the United States and Belize. I have experience helping to protect assets, reduce taxes, and improve investment performance by utilizing global investment techniques.

Harvard University, A.B. degree; University of Houston Law Center, J.D. Degree; Fulbright Scholar

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