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"Green Card" Abandonment

General Information On How To Return A "Green Card"

If you wish to abandon your alien/legal permanent resident status in the U.S.
If you have already lost your alien/legal permanent status by remaining outside the U.S. for too long (over 12 consecutive months unless you have obtained a re-entry permit from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), you must formally turn in your alien/legal permanent resident card (commonly known as a “Green Card”).

You must bring the Green Card in person to the Immigrant Visa Unit during our walk-in hours (Please see "Contact Information" for current walk-in hours). 

Do not mail the Green Card to the Immigrant Visa Unit.

Also please remember to bring your passport for identification purposes.  We will give you the appropriate "Abandonment" form to complete.  Be prepared to answer questions regarding last U.S. address, date of departure, airline, airport, etc. 

Once you have returned the card in person, you will be given a document that you can present to the immigration officer at a U.S. port of entry as proof that you have turned in your card.  We recommend that you carry this document with you whenever you travel to the U.S. to clarify your status. 

Please check our website: for information on visas and the Visa Waiver Program.

The Immigrant Visa Unit frequently receives inquiries as to whether a former permanent resident will have problems entering the U.S. after the Green Card has been returned.  We cannot provide any assurances on this matter.  It is always the immigration officer at the port of entry who determines whether a traveler to the U.S. may enter the country (either with a visa or under the Visa Waiver Program).

An alien resident who has been outside the U.S. for twelve consecutive months without prior authorization from the USCIS has lost his/her alien resident status regardless of the expiration date listed on the Green Card.

An immigration officer may also determine that an alien has abandoned his/her alien resident status even though the person has not been outside the U.S. for twelve consecutive months; spending most of the year outside the U.S. over a period of one or more years can jeopardize your alien resident status.

Please check the USCIS website at for additional information on permanent resident status.