I-407: Intentional and Unintentional Abandonment of Green Card
Despite the many advantages of holding permanent resident (“PR”) status in the United States, some people decide to affirmatively surrender their PR status. Formal relinquishment of PR status can terminate U.S. income tax obligations, if properly accomplished. If you intentionally and officially wish to abandon your PR status in the U.S. and relinquish your green card, you must complete and present in person Form I-407, Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status; your green card; and, if applicable, your re-entry permit at an international United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) office or a U.S. consulate or embassy.
Once the I-407 is processed, you will no longer be a permanent resident. Your rights and obligations as a PR will also cease. Furthermore, if you wish to enter the United States in the future, you will have to apply for admission in the same manner as other nationals of your country. Fortunately, giving up your green card does not bar you from applying again in the future for admission to the U.S. as an immigrant or nonimmigrant. However, if you wish to obtain a green card again, you will have to repeat the green card application process along with attendant quota delays. There is no fee associated with filing an I-407.
Involuntary Abandonment: I-407 through CBP at Entry to U.S.
Involuntary abandonment of PR status can also occur when the airport inspector requires an arriving immigrant to sign I-407 as a confession of abandonment. In these situations, the CBP officer removes the green card and mails it to USCIS. The arriving immigrant is either paroled into the U.S. in parolee or nonimmigrant status, or returned to the foreign country of last residence. In either situation, a foreign national has the right to return to the CBP office at the port of entry and request a hearing before an immigration judge on the issue of abandonment. Statements made at inspection can be used against the foreign national in the court hearing.
Failing to File or Pursue I-751/I-829
Abandonment of Conditional Permanent Resident (“CPR”) status also requires in-person submission of Form I-407. Individuals holding CPR status should not ignore the two-year green card expiration date by failing to file or pursue I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions, or I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. Instead, CPRs should file an I-407 as detailed above. If the I-829/I-751 is not filed within the 90-day period preceding the second anniversary of receiving CPR status, then the person’s CPR status is automatically terminated and s/he is placed in removal (deportation) proceedings through the issuance of a notice to appear at an immigration court. An applicant living abroad who does not appear for the hearing may receive a removal order and will be barred from entering the U.S. for at least five years.
Similarly, if a CPR files the I-829/I-751 and then decides to abandon status, failure to pursue the I-829/I-751 application by failing to appear for biometrics, interview, etc., will also cause automatic termination of status and placement in removal proceedings.
When ending permanent resident status, the prescribed process must be followed to avoid unwanted tax and immigration consequences.