Legal permanent residents who spend a lot of time outside of the US each year lose their eligibility for US citizenship based upon the USCIS rules on continuous residency and physical presence.

Generally speaking, an absence of more than six months or long periods outside the United States (more than half your time as a lawful permanent resident) will break residency and may even result in US Immigration considering your lawful permanent residence abandoned. However there are some exceptions made in very particular circumstances. According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the physical presence, continuous residency and state residency requirement maybe waived in some situations.

If you are the spouse of a US citizen who is one of the following:

A member of the US Armed Forces; An employee or individual under contract to the US Government; An employee of an American institution of research recognized by the Attorney General; An employee of an American-owned firm or corporation engaged in the development of foreign trade and commerce of the US; An employee of a public international organization of which the US is a member by law or treaty; Are a person who performs ministerial of priestly functions for a religious domination or an interdenominational organization with a valid presence in the United States; AND Your citizen spouse is working overseas for at least 1 year according to an employment contract or order
If you feel you fit into these categories, you need to attend our next legal clinic on December 3rd.

Convictions and legal residents

Certain criminal convictions can result in deportation or denial of admission for legal permanent residents. This means a legal resident with convictions can be arrested at his/her home, at court hearings and taken into custody pending removal proceedings. Convictions can also render a lawful permanent resident 'inadmissible,' meaning a legal resident who leaves the US may not be re-admitted as a permanent resident. In some instances, a legal resident attempting reentry with a conviction on his/her record faces being “paroled” into the US for a hearing before an immigration judge. It is crucial that a legal permanent resident appearing in such hearings be represented by a very experienced immigration attorney. Any legal permanent resident with a prior conviction who is contemplating a trip out of the US for the holidays is strongly advised to attend our legal clinic for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. It is best to be sure you will be allowed back into the US before you leave.

Legal & Immigration Clinic

If you have a question on visas, green cards, US citizenship or how an arrest can affect your immigration status, attend out next legal clinic on December 3rd starting at 6:30 pm in The Banshee, 954 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester. People coming to talk about criminal convictions are reminded to bring any court documents including certified docket sheets on their case for review by the attorneys. All conversations remain strictly confidential. If inclement weather is forecast, call our office to confirm clinic date and time.

Article submitted by Kieran C. O Sullivan, Immigration Counselor
Email [email protected]

Disclaimer: Please note that the information contained in it is provided to inform generally, and is not intended as a substitute for individual advice. Immigration law is subject to frequent changes and individual circumstances can affect the application of certain legal provisions. For individual legal advice, please contact the Irish Pastoral Centre directly regarding upcoming legal clinics or consultation with an immigration attorney.