Hi this is Immigration Attorney Emel Navarro.
If you are a green card holder and you want to take a trip outside the US.
You have to be very careful:
to keep documentation about the reasons for their trips abroad, as well as evidence of ties they maintained in the US while outside the US.
If you spend more than 4-5 months outside the US, the US may consider that an abandonment of your residency here and try to cancel your green card.
How would they do this? When you return, the Immigration officers at the border (passport control) may ask you many questions, keep your green card and give you a letter saying that you have to fight to keep your green card at Immigration Court.
Even worse, sometimes they make you sign papers to “abandon or give up your green card” before you are allowed back into the US.
So here’s what you need to know if you are traveling out of the US for more than 3-4 months and you don’t want to lose your green card:
Bring with you the following papers:
Pay US taxes as a Resident Alien (instead of Non-Resident Alien)
Own or rent property in the US; pay utility and other bills for that property
Have (and use) US credit cards
Have (and use) bank account(s) in the US
Maintain close ties with family members in the US
Maintain employment in US
Document that any work abroad is temporary
Avoid traveling on round-trip airline tickets that originate in another country
If you intend to travel outside the US for more than 3-4 months, you can also get a “ re-entry permit” which will allow you to stay longer without having this problem. Talk to your Immigration lawyer about it.
One more advise, if the people at the border pressure you to sign papers making you abandon your green card, refuse to sign it. It’s better for you to get a paper saying you have to see the Immigration judge at a later time then admitting that you are no longer a resident.