I went to USA 2 months ago with a Family Visa (F4 category), my aunt sponsored my dad, we lived with her.

I got a permanent residence stamp (acting as a GC) at the time of entering USA.

I have my SSN, Green Card, and a Bank Account in USA as well.

But I moved back to Pakistan for some family reason 1 month ago, right now I am in Pakistan.

I want to know how long can I stay in Pakistan so that my Green Card does not become invalid? or I am denied to enter into USA?

I have heard I can stay for a year, but if I go back to USA, immigration officers may ask many questions reason of staying in Pakistan.

I am a Software Engineer, and work as a freelancer on Upwork.com, I get paid into the bank I have in USA,

Someone told me this is also a big point in my favor that I am doing my business in USA and keeping my money in USA. Is this thing in my favor?

Can someone answer

  • 1
    Have you looked at any of the US government web sites? What did they say?
    – phoog
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 15:25
  • 1
    I tried to search a lot over internet and that sums up "GREEN CARD MAY OR MAY NOT GET INVALID" ... but thats an answer in between,,,, I want know an exact answer or a close to fact answer, or want someone to answer who has experienced same thing before
    – usa
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 16:23

2 Answers 2


As someone who had gone through a similar situation, I know it can be difficult to find the correct answer. The answer given by @sitic is a very good one.

In my case, I came to the USA with the green card just before my last semester at college. I stayed in the country for a month and flew back to my previous country to finish that semester. I stayed roughly 7 months outside the country so when I came back the visa check officer made an extensive questionnaire about the reasons I stayed that long. After that, they sent me to the immigration office inside the airport and I stayed there for another hour. They asked me a couple questions and allowed me to leave without problems.

They will ask you many questions, and your answers must prove that the intent of your travel was justified and was only provisional. If the family reasons you mention cover those aspects (like taking care of a family member hospitalized) and you can prove it, I don't think you will have any problem as long as your stay is less than a year. As @sitic has mentioned, if your stay outside the country is less than 180 days per year, they won't ask that many questions. If your stay is more than 6 months (and less than a year) and the temporal status of your travels cannot be proven, they can send you to a jury to see if they have to revoke your permanent resident status.

You can have more information at: https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/820/~/can-a-u.s.-lawful-permanent-resident-leave-multiple-times-and-return

You can find a very good guide in: http://lawandborder.com/risk-abandoning-green-card-abroad-6-months/

Good Luck!


As an lawful permanent resident (LPR) you are expected to take up residence in the US and you are not allowed to do so in another country. You are allowed to leave the US temporarily, there is no legal definition how long temporary is.

If you leave the US:

  • for one year or more your green card will no longer be a valid document to reenter the US.
  • for anything shorter than one year the CBP officer might ask you questions to determine if you have abandoned your residency in the US. The longer you stay away (especially 6 months or longer), the more probable and tougher the questioning will be. If the CBP officer believes that you have abandoned your LPR status he/she will pressure you to give up your green card voluntarily. If you refuse, you might be taken to Immigration Court for a judge to determine whether you have lost your LPR status.

To prove that you have not abandoned your residency in the US, you should have good answers to the questions on why you have been gone so long and what ties did you keep to the US. Getting payed into a US account and having a home in the US is very beneficial here.

I want to add that it is not enough to fly to the US every couple of months and stay for a month or so, you actually need to live in the US.

You can file for a reentry permit (Form I-131), which allows you live in another country for up to two years. The reentry permit can also be renewed. You are supposed to file the reentry permit before you leave the US, but you don't have to stay in the US for the processing. They will also take your biometrics (photo, fingerprints), I don't know if you can do this in Pakistan or only in the US.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.