June 10, 2022

Can I travel freely if I get a green card?

Maybe you are thinking about living and working in the United States. You may know others that have done just that by securing a green card. Yet, if you still want to spend time in your home country, it might not work out. Here is why:

A green card is a permanent residency visa. If the immigration authorities decide that you are not acting as a permanent resident, they may take it away.

Even if you can afford to buy a house here, that alone will not meet their residency requirements. Here is what they expect:

You live here most of the time

If you plan to split your time between two countries, a green card will probably not work out. If you are out of the country for more than one year, you definitely need to apply for reentry, which the authorities could refuse. Yet, they could also question your right to retain your visa if they believe you are coming and going so much that you are not really residing here.

You report your income here

Let’s say you have a business in your home country. Once you get a green card, you need to report all your worldwide income to the U.S. tax authorities. If you want to be treated as a permanent resident, you generally need to file like one.

However, there may be instances where you can avoid paying taxes on the incomes earned elsewhere if there are dual tax arrangements in place.

You cannot afford to make assumptions about anything if you hope to get a green card or already have one. Getting help to understand all applicable requirements will be crucial.