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How Long Can a Green Card Holder Stay Outside the US

Tanya Freedman CEO Connetics USA: After receiving our Green Card, can my dependent - husband and child go back to the Philippines for vacation? After receiving it, is there a time limit on when they need to be back in the US, Chris? 

Atty. Chris Musillo: So yes, they can absolutely go back to the Philippines. Certainly a few months is totally fine. If it's going to be more than about six months. We recommend you talk to an attorney for two reasons. One, once you get over about a year, there could be issues about whether you've abandoned you as permanent residency, but two there are things that an attorney can do and this is why I want to discuss your specific situation to preserve your permanent residency.

Then the third consideration to think about is I know a lot of us permanent residents, and one of their goals in five years is to apply for US citizenship. One of the rules is you do have to be a green card holder for five years, there's a second rule that governs the amount of time that you are physically on US soil, which is two and a half years or 50% of the time. So if you're interested in US citizenship someday, you want to factor that into your thinking as well.

Tanya: Thank you, Chris. We actually have a show coming up about citizenship, how to apply for citizenship, and we'll have a few nurses on that have gone through the citizenship process. And I can tell you, as an immigrant, who is now a proud American citizen, this is the ultimate goal. So watch out for that show, because it's coming up in a few weeks.