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How can I voluntarily terminate my status as a lawful permanent resident of the United States?

By June 10, 2022Immigration
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Background

While there are many individuals who dream of someday acquiring a green card and becoming a lawful permanent resident of the United States, there are others who decide that being a lawful permanent resident no longer makes sense for them. This can be due to a number of reasons, including tax obligations that apply to permanent residents of the United States. In this post, we share some information about the process to voluntarily abandon a green card, and the implications of doing so.

What is the process to voluntarily abandon a green card?

In order to abandon a green card, the individual must first complete a USCIS Form I-407, Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status. The completed Form I-407 is submitted to either the USCIS Eastern Forms Center or at a port of entry (U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at a port of entry are able to accept the Form I-407).

The individual abandoning their green card must physically either be outside the United States or at a port of entry to submit the Form I-407. In very rare circumstances the Form I-407 can be submitted in-person at a USCIS international field office or at a U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate in a country that does not have a USCIS field office. This rare and requires prior approval by the visa office – it is typically done for an expedited abandonment in order to apply for a diplomat visa.

When is abandonment of the green card effective?

The abandonment will be effective on the date the Form I-407 is filed with USCIS or at the port of entry. As confirmation of the abandonment, USCIS will send a Form I-797 “Confirmation Notice.” For those who need expedited proof of abandonment for tax purposes, the IRS may deem residence to be abandoned on the date the Form I-407 is submitted to the Eastern Form Center, as long as the individual can provide proof of submission by certified mail return receipt.

What if I change my mind after filing the I-407? Do I have a right to a hearing?

By signing the Form I-407, the individual waives the right to a hearing before an immigration judge who can decide whether the individual abandoned their lawful permanent resident status. This is important to keep in mind in case there is later a dispute as to whether the individual actually intended to abandon their LPR status.

After filing the I-407, can I get another type of visa in the future and enter the U.S.?

Yes. Abandoning the green card does not prevent an individual from applying for a visa in the future. They can still apply to enter the U.S. as a nonimmigrant (e.g. on a visitor visa or ESTA), assuming they are otherwise eligible. On future visa applications, they might be required to provide information about their prior stay in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident.

It is oftentimes recommended that, on future visits to the U.S. after abandoning the green card, the individual carry with them confirmation from USCIS that they abandoned the green card. This can help mitigate questions the border officer might ask about their intention to remain in the United States.

What are the tax implications of abandoning my green card?

This is a very common question that comes up in the context of abandoning a green card. The tax consequences of abandoning a green card can be significant, and there can be severe penalties for failure to comply with applicable tax and reporting requirements. For this reason, we strongly recommend that an individual who plans to abandon their green card consult with a qualified U.S. tax advisor before doing so.

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