Will I lose US Green Card if applying for Italian Elective residence visa?

The Italian Elective Residence Visa is for foreigners – retired persons, persons with high self-sustaining incomes and financial assets - who have chosen Italy as the country of permanent residence.


The US Green Card is an immigration permit, meaning it allows you to move into the US permanently. If you decide to move somewhere else permanently, you are considered to have abandoned your US immigration plans, as you cannot be a permanent resident in two places.

Technically, if you are outside of the US for more than a year, you are considered to have abandoned your Green Card, unless you have special reasons and apply for an exception upfront. But even shorter times might be considered an abandonment: USCIS says (https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/after-green-card-granted/maintaining-permanent-residence): "You may also lose your permanent resident status by intentionally abandoning it. You may be found to have abandoned your status if you: Move to another country, intending to live there permanently."
Applying for an Italian permanent residence permit could well be considered as 'intending to live there permanently', and there's little to argue with that.

So, yes, you'll probably lose the Green Card. You can always apply again for it, if you change your mind again, but there is no guarantee that you get one again.

If you lived in the US five full years on the Green Card, you can apply for Citizenship. Once you are an American Citizen, you can move permanently to Italy without the risk of losing it.

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    I don't think this is quite right. Nothing that happens in Italy has any direct effect on one's status in the US, only what happens in the US effects that. If he sells his house in the US, packs everything up and moves it all to Italy he has abandoned his US residence, but if he continues to maintain his US residence it isn't necessarily abandoned. And it certainly isn't all that unusual for 2 countries to simultaneously consider someone a resident since tax treaties always include language addressing that exact situation. – Dennis Aug 1 '17 at 16:18
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    You are free to think that. When he arrives the next time in the US, they'll ask how long he was out of the country, and he'll find out. Of course you could sneak through for many years illegally by lying. – Aganju Aug 1 '17 at 16:37
  • I not only think that, I've lived it. If he actually wants to live in two countries, spending a month here and a few months there, he can do that (except in the case that both countries condition PR on being present more than half of each year, but the US doesn't). If he just wants to live in Italy, however, he'll lose US PR because he doesn't live in the US. I told the CBP officer at my NEXUS interview that I was also a PR in another country (the thing you say you can't be) and all he wanted to know was my address there to add to the file – Dennis Aug 1 '17 at 20:21
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    "Technically, if you are outside of the US for 180+ consecutive days, you are considered to have abandoned your Green Card" No. There is no such rule. On the contrary, a green card by itself is valid for re-entry without needing anything else after an absence of up to 1 year. And even for an absence of more than 1 year without a re-entry permit, the officer has discretion to let you in anyway, or if he doesn't, an immigration judge can let you in anyway, if they determine that you haven't abandoned residence. – user102008 Aug 2 '17 at 19:36
  • The green card is issued after the immigrant arrives in the US, not before. – phoog Aug 3 '17 at 13:28

A US permanent resident is required to maintain residence in the US. Whether a person has abandoned residence is determined subjectively by looking at many factors, including time out of the US, pattern of previous absences, whether the person maintained access to a home in the US, whether the person had family in the US, whether the person maintained accounts in the US and filed taxes in the US if they had income (as a permanent resident is a resident alien no matter where they are), whether the intended activity abroad had a fixed termination date instead of being open-ended, whether the failure to return sooner was due to circumstances beyond the person's control, etc. There is no one factor (e.g. length of absence) that can absolutely say whether the person has abandoned residence or not (i.e. there is no length of absence above which absolutely means the person has abandoned residence, and no length of absence below which the person has absolutely maintained residence).

There is no rule that having permanent resident status in another country necessarily precludes maintaining residence in the US -- it depends on what the person actually does with respect to residing in the US. The issue may be that the other country may require that their permanent residents spend a certain amount of time in that country (I am not sure what Italy requires), in which case it may be difficult to maintain permanent residence in both the US and that country. But even if the other country has such a rule, it is still not true that getting that country's permanent residency affects the person's US permanent residency, because the person might end up spending most of their time in the US and eventually lose the other country's permanent residency. Depending on the country, it's also possible that the other country doesn't require permanent residents to spend a certain amount of time in that country, or allow it to be spent in the US in certain circumstances (e.g. I know Canadian permanent residents can maintain residence abroad if they are living with a Canadian citizen spouse), in which case it may be possible to maintain both countries' permanent residency. So in conclusion, it's not the act of getting permanent residency that matters, but rather the overall actions of the person with respect to residence in the US.

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