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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawUS Immigration LawThe I-407 and Surrendering a US Green Card

The I-407 and Surrendering a US Green Card

Transcript of the above video:

In this video, we're going to be discussing green card surrender, what it is and how it affects one's immigration status with respect to the United States. A green card surrender is exactly what it sounds like. It's the giving up of a green card status.

There's sort of de facto Green Card surrender in so far as one can leave the United States, not return and be presumed to have abandoned their residence. However, for full residence to be abandoned, for the residence to actually be adjudicated as abandoned or for it to be considered fully abandoned, for legal purposes legally abandoned, one needs to undertake a green card surrender if one wishes to distance themselves from the United States lawful permanent residence.

In a way, green card surrender is a touch somewhat similar renunciation of U.S. citizenship which is briefly discussed in another video on this channel but it's different in so far as it's merely a surrendering of one's status as lawful permanent residence not citizenship which has a far higher threshold to actually undergo as well as many more privileges that are actually given up in the process of giving up that status.

So for purposes of this video, we're going to briefly talk about what it is. What you'll often see is folks who have lived in the United States for a fairly short or even prolonged period of time, their purposes and activities for remaining in the United States will no longer fit their lifestyle choices or their needs. Those individuals will move abroad and they no longer need their green card; those individuals will often undertake a surrender of their United States green card or lawful permanent residence status. This needs to be undertaken in the presence of an officer of the Department of Homeland Security. In certain cases, I think it can be undertaken by other federal officers but in my experience, I've always taken care of these matters with USCIS officers themselves. Basically, once one surrenders their green card status, they are considered no longer an LPR - lawful permanent resident of the United States and they will no longer enjoy the privileges and benefits associated with that status.

There are certain situations where a green card surrender is somewhat necessary, most notably there are situations where someone no longer wishes to be a resident but may wish to have a tourist visa back to the United States. In another video on this channel that's more detailed or discussed in more detail but on this particular video, we're simply discussing surrender itself. But please note that there are certain, I won't say benefits, but there are certain situations in which green card surrender will change the posture of one's overall situation as far as their legal posture, their legal standing with respect to immigration benefits. That being said, surrender should not be undertaken lightly.

I have dealt with certain situations where in effect, a surrender is sort of necessary in order to retake one's lawful presence, one’s lawful residence in the United States. This may happen in those sort of catch 22 circumstances where someone's been abroad for a significant period of time; that individual did intend to return to the United States but was unaware of the consequences of prolonged absence and the presumption of amendment of residence and oftentimes in those situations, someone will allow their green card to go ahead and expire and when that does happen, United States, basically airlines are not going to let someone get on a plane with an expired green card.

Under certain circumstances, notwithstanding the fact that a green card surrender really should be undertaken with a great deal of due care, there may be certain circumstances where one is abroad, one needs to get back in the United States and surrendering one's green card is the only way to turn around and apply for another immigrant visa; let's say, this immigrant is the wife or husband of a United States citizen, there are certain circumstances where the green card surrender may actually facilitate that. There are also certain circumstances where a green card surrender may not be the proper course of action for the individual as one's lawful permanent residence can be retaken or sort of, re-established utilizing what's called an SB-1 returning resident visa. That type of visa is discussed in another video on this channel. But a returning resident visa might be able to help somebody go ahead and re-establish residence that's presumed to be abandoned.

Again, people who are watching this may be simply looking to go ahead and simply abandon their permanent residence and by surrendering one's green card, that's the best way to go ahead and fully terminate one's lawful permanent residence in the United States.