LPR Moving to Europe

Hello,

I am a European Citizen, who married an American in 2008 here in the US. I got my first GreenCard on March 15 2009, I applied for the I-751 Greencard in December, my biometrics were taken at the beginning of March. As soon as I get the I-751 I was planning to ask for citizenship. However, my husband and I are planning to move back to Europe. I went to the USCIS website and it says that you cannot become a citizen unless you have lived permanently in the US for at least 3 years (until March 15 2012 correct?) and are living in the US until you receive your citizenship. Is that correct? if we move to Europe at the end of this year, will I lose my Greencard and my right to citizenship, even though my husband is an American citizen? I don't know if it matters or not, but my husband is a vet, he got out of the military in Sep. 2009.
I hope to get an answer soon. Thank you so much for your time

itdubie

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Phil's picture

Maintaining LPR Status

Thanks for posting this interesting question. This is a tricky situation. You wouldn't qualify to apply for naturalization until March 2012. If you leave the U.S. before then and remain abroad for any significant period of time it could mean that you wouldn't qualify for naturalization when you became eligible to apply. However, I think it is unlikely that you will even get to that issue because if you are absent from the U.S. for more than a year you won't be able to reenter the U.S. with your green card and if you try you will likely be found to have abandonded your residency. You may be able to obtain a reentry permit depending on the circumstances surrounding your move to Europe and how long you plan to be gone.

I don't know what your long term plans are but I think it is important that you consider this and understand the implications of your moving. Depending on the specific facts of your case there may be some things that could be done to protect your LPR status.

Maintaining LPR Status

Thanks so much for your answer Phil, I really aprpeciate it. I went to the USCIS office we have here and they said that there is no way I can become a citizen unless I had a greencard for 3 years, so that then I can apply for naturalization which takes a year. We were planning on staying for quite a few years, we're not even sure we would come back to the US,but in case we have to I wouldn't want to go through this whole process again and spend all that money so we will have to postpone our move...
Thank you so much for finding the time to answer to me, I know you must be very busy.

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