100+ Ways To Prove You Did NOT Abandon Your Green Card

Ways To Prove You Did NOT Abandon Your Green Card

Categories: Resources
Published: February 28, 2023

How To Prove You Did Not Abandon Your Green Card Video Summary

If you are a green card holder, a legal permanent resident (LPR), who has been outside the United States for over a year, you may be considered to have abandoned your green card. That’s because the U.S. immigration law is based on a use it or lose it scenario. If you haven’t been in the U.S. using your green card for over a year-long period, that’s when you’re status could change. 

However, there are ways to prove that you did not abandon your green card. These arguments to prove that you did not abandon your green card largely fall into two categories. The first is proving the U.S. is your home through family ties, financial ties, memberships, activities, or groups you participate in. The second main category to prove you did not abandon your green card is providing evidence that your absence was temporary. This may be COVID-related reasons, family reasons, job-related reasons, and many others. In this video attorney Joseph Tsang goes through a long list of ways to prove you did not abandon your green card when you’ve been out of the U.S. for more than a year.

Full Video Transcript

Hi everyone. I’ve been getting a lot of requests to make a video on everything you can do to prove you did not abandon your green card.


Now, I made a video similar to this back in, I think, 2020, but now since then we’ve represented over 300, 400 clients coming into the country. Every circumstance is different and we encountered a lot of things, so in this video, we’re just gonna go down all the things that I can think of, off top of my head, from everything I’ve experienced. Hopefully, you find it helpful. Enjoy!


(Tsang logo splash)


(0:31) Hi everyone. This is Joseph. I’m the Managing Partner here at Tsang & Associates where we solve legal problems with creative solutions. So the legal problem is that if you’ve been out of the country for over a year, technically, you could be deemed that you’ve abandoned your green card. And I know that sounds ridiculous because it’s tremendously difficult to get a green card. It’s like you buy a super expensive car and then you park it in the garage and then somebody says, “oh, well you must have abandoned your car.” Well no, right? Like it’s so important; I went out of my way; I wait list; I bought it; I clean it. Why would I abandon it?


But anyways, arguments aside, the law is if you have been out of the country, you could have abandoned your green card. Because, technically, if you don’t use it, you lose it. And as an LPR, as a permanent resident, you should be in the country. You should be working. You should be paying taxes. That is a minimum requirement. I get it. That’s the law so let’s prove it.


(1:25) The argument falls into two camps. The first camp is proving that the US is your home. The second camp is proving that the reason that you’ve been out was temporary in nature. It was supposed to be short. It’s out of your control. Let’s start with the first camp: how is the US your home?


Everybody is different. If you’re a young kid, well, you have different documents. If you are an entrepreneur, you have different documents. So without talking about each different category, I’m just going down a whole bunch of lists. Okay? So let’s get to it.



Ways To Prove The US Is Your Home

  • Do you have hobbies?
  • Do you have pets?
  • Do you have charities that you donate to?
  • Do you have dependents? Do you wire money to people in the US, you know? I know a lot of people will wire money out of the US to help people, but many people also wire money into the US. Do you have dependents? Do you have young children? 
  • Do you have parents? If you got your green card through family-based, do you have a lot of family here? Do you all live in the same jurisdiction or area?
  • Do you have a family tree to show all the people that are connected?
  • Do you have an Amazon account? Do you have an Amazon Prime account? Do you have a Netflix account? Do you have Hulu account? Do you have HBO Max account?
  • Do you have a library card?
  • Do you have a local gym membership or do you have a national chain membership? How long have you had these said memberships? Have you been there for a long time?
  • Do you go to church? Do you go to mass? Do you go to your temple? 
  • Do you have people who know you who can write like letter recommendations about your involvement even though you’ve been out of the country?
  • Do you have zoom meetings with particular members?
  • Are you a part of a soccer team? Are you part of a baseball club?
  • Are you part of a collector’s club that plays DND, Magic The Gathering, anything that’s fun that you have a particular group that you guys participate together
  • Do you go to competition? Are you part of a chess competition? A golf competition?
  • Are you part of country clubs at golf resorts where you go and play? Do you have a tee off that’s coming up that you’re supposed to go to that’s very prestigious and important?
  • Are you supposed to meet with important people, celebrities, CEOs, investors?
  • Do you have these meetings that take a long time to schedule and that you need a schedule that you’ve been continuously scheduling?
  • Do you pay taxes? Do you pay property taxes?
  • Do you have bills?
  • Do you have insurance?
  • Do you have a house? Do you have an apartment? Do you have a condo
  • Have you been hiring people to maintain your residence, your house? Was there a major leak?
  • Do you have a tenant dispute? Do you have an investment dispute?
  • Do you have a litigation that you need to fly back for to contest?
  • Are you an influencer? Do you travel around the country? Do you take a lot of pictures? Do you have a lot of followers? Do you have a lot of followers in the US who rely on your content?
  • Are you an entertainer? Do you have a podcast? Do you have a youtube channel?
  • Do you have a photography blog or are you an inventor? 
  • Do you have a patent pending? Do you have a trademark that’s being applied?
  • Do you have a company? Do you have an LLC? A sole proprietorship? Do you have an S-Corp?
  • Do you have a C-Corp? Do you have shareholders that you report to? Do you report to shareholders because you run the company?
  • Do you have an official title? Are you a Secretary Treasurer of a company or of a Non-profit or of just your HOA association?
  • What is your resume? How do people know you? Do you have a wikipedia page? do you have a Linked In page?
  • What is your job? 
  • Do you have a retirement plan? Do you have a 401k? Do you have social security? Do you have a pension? Do you have a retirement account? Do you have a life savings account? Do you have a term life insurance? Do you have a universal life insurance?
  • Do you have a stock portfolio? Do you have an investment banker managing your funds and investing in certain things?
  • Are you an angel investor? Do you have other ceos that report to you? Is somebody desperate and relying on your investment in order to start a company?
  • Do you have real estate agents that’s helping you shop for a property? 
  • Do you have accountants? Do you have lawyers? Do you have professionals that’s helping you establish your roots in the US
  • Did you pay taxes over the past five years? 10 years? Do you owe back taxes?
  • Do you owe a mortgage? Do you owe a lot of money to US entities?
  • Do you have student debt? How much money do you owe to different entities?


Because all of these things route you in to the US fabric; whether culturally; whether it’s friendships; whether it’s other US citizens; whether it’s other companies entities to the government itself, show your roots. The purpose of all of this and more is to show that you are deeply and inseparably connected to the fabric of the US commonwealth.


(5:29) Alright. Now, part two.

  • Why did you leave? Why did you leave for one year? for two years? for three years or more? so plane tickets. When did you leave? 
  • Why did you leave? What was the original intent? Did you buy a return ticket?
  • You’ve been stuck. COVID happened. What was the government policy at that time in April of 2020?
  • Where did you go? Japan has certain policies. Print out all the different policies from April 20th all the way to the present. 
  • If you’re flying back in, how many times did you try to return?
  • Did you email a friend? Did you talk to a friend? Are there travel agents that helped you prepare documents to show that you were going to come back, but then you couldn’t come back and then you had to buy tickets again?
  • Did you get turned away by a certain particular airline?
  • Did you try to contact the embassy? Did you email the embassy? Did you pay for an interview with the embassy? Did you get denied by the embassy? Did you try to go to a different embassy?
  • Did you get COVID?
  • Did you get sick?
  • Did somebody else get sick around you? What’s your relationship to them? Did you go to the hospital? Did you buy things for them? Why did you have to carry that for them? Why couldn’t other people care for them? 
  • How many people were stuck with you and why couldn’t you come back? Were you hospitalized? How were you hospitalized? What kind of medications were you on?
  • What kind of major surgery? How much did it cost relative to US dollars and to the the living standard over there? Did it cost a whole year’s salary for somebody from your particular country? How severe was it and why couldn’t you have come back for that particular surgery. Show you tried to contact doctors, but it would have taken too long your life would have been threatened. You are still as of now still a legal permanent resident and still part of the commonwealth that the US should care for so if you came back to the US you would have died. Well, then it makes sense that you were abroad.
  • Did you get laid off? Did you try to get your job back, right? Maybe you have a job in the US and you left and then now the job could not keep you out for that long so they fired you, and did you try to contest it?
  • Did you hire a lawyer to contest, and now, do you have an employment lawsuit in the US?
  • Did the job in the US. expect you to return at this particular date, but then you couldn’t and you tried to extend it for three months, and then you couldn’t meet that because you were stuck?
  • How did you fund for all this expense while you’re overseas? If you’re working overseas and that was your original intent the entire time, and you were working there even before COVID, well, these are probably not good things that you want to mention.
  • If you were a minor and your parents took you out, well, that was beyond your control. How old were you? Where did you go? 
  • What school did you go to, and now when you’re coming back where are you going to go? What school are you going to go to or did you graduate? You’re going to get a job. 
  • Do you have a job offer already? Show that it was beyond your control. Did the company send you? Is this a US company that sent you and your family overseas or did you just go voluntarily? Show that other people forced you to go. You didn’t want to, but you had to.
  • Were you working for the US government overseas?
  • Were you working for a US company overseas?
  • Were you working something that’s related to COVID?
  • Were you trying to solve the global supply chain problem?
  • Were you solving the global COVID crisis? Show that you are part of the US’s endeavor to save the world, right? These grand pictures. You are part of the solution and not part of the problem.


(8:20) All this and more, you can present but the key thing is don’t just shove all this paperwork before a CBP officer. They will hate you. They will probably hate me for telling you all of this, but the idea is you need to be able to explain it and when they question you, you can find a document and show them. It’s just a conversation with the CBP officer at the airport. I’m sure you’ve gone through that experience before, but because you violated a particular US law/ You’ve been out for too long, they deserve an explanation. They need to enforce the US law. Whether or not you agree with the principles of the law and should it be changed, that’s a separate question, but they are just doing their job so provide the explanation that they require to let you through.

Good luck. If you have any questions feel free to reach out. I hope this has been helpful. Take care. Bye-bye.