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shutterstock_171174860U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced the release of a new version of Form I-407, Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status.  It is important to note that voluntarily relinquishing lawful permanent resident status may be beneficial for certain individuals and preferable to being deemed to have abandoned it.  Why would someone want to give up their lawful permanent resident status (green card) in the United States considering the numerous challenges associated with achieving this great benefit?

If the individual moves to another country with the intention of making it their primary domicile, it is likely the individual will be deemed to have given up their green card and will not be admitted back into the United States as a lawful permanent resident.  As such, keeping the green card or trying to maintain it after having permanently relocated abroad may be detrimental for a number of reasons, including tax consequences and/or expense of trying to enter the United States with the abandoned green card and being turned around.  What can often happen is that the person is deemed to have abandoned his/her green card but still is obligated to pay U.S. income taxes on worldwide income. 

The filing of Form I-407, Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status, is therefore advantageous in certain situations.  By filing the form, an individual is able to officially abandon their lawful permanent residency status in the United States.  The form can be filed at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad and requires the surrender of the green card.  The consular officer’s role entails accepting and processing Form I-407; there is no adjudication of Form I-407 whereby the consular official makes a determination of abandonment of status.  When filing in person, the Consulate may choose to interview those individuals where there is reason to believe the individual is not acting voluntarily in their decision to abandon lawful permanent residency.  There is no fee to file Form I-407 at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  Once abandoned, the consular officer will provide the individual with a formal signed copy of the form.

Generally, in abandoning the green card an individual is relieved from future U.S. federal income tax obligations so long as the appropriate tax clearance procedures and related documentation have been followed and completed.  However, certain green card holders who have held such status eight out of the last 15 years may be subject to the U.S. expatriation regime which generally taxes such person, subject to an exemption amount, on the gain resulting from a deemed sale of all of their worldwide assets at such assets’ fair market value immediately before such expatriation.  Even after abandonment of a green card, a former green card holder could still be a U.S. tax resident by virtue of spending a significant amount of time in the United States.  Moreover, the official signed Form I-407, received after the consular appointment/interview, demonstrates the individual’s clear intent of relinquishing immigrant/lawful permanent resident status and can be used when filing for future visas to enter the United States.  For example, after formally abandoning the green card, an individual can present this evidence when filing for a tourist visa in order to demonstrate non-immigrant intent.

Please note the current edition is dated 2/26/2015 and USCIS will not accept earlier editions of the form after 3/23/2015.  Effective March 26, 2015, the new form will officially be implemented at U.S. Consulates worldwide.  The decision to abandon status as a lawful permanent resident and/or file Form I-407 should be taken seriously. It is recommended that you consult with both immigration counsel and tax counsel prior to making the choice to abandon lawful permanent resident status.

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Photo of Laura Foote Reiff‡ Laura Foote Reiff‡

Laura Foote Reiff Co-Chairs the Business Immigration & Compliance Practice and is the Co-Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia Office. She also Co-Chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s International Employment, Immigration & Workforce Strategies group. Laura focuses her practice on business immigration

Laura Foote Reiff Co-Chairs the Business Immigration & Compliance Practice and is the Co-Managing Shareholder of the Northern Virginia Office. She also Co-Chairs the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s International Employment, Immigration & Workforce Strategies group. Laura focuses her practice on business immigration laws and regulations affecting U.S. and foreign companies, as well as related employment compliance and legislative issues.

Laura advises corporations on a variety of compliance-related issues, particularly related to Form I-9 eligibility employment verification matters. Laura has been involved in audits and internal investigations and has successfully minimized monetary exposure as well as civil and criminal liabilities on behalf of her clients. She develops immigration compliance strategies and programs for both small and large companies. Laura performs I-9, H-1B and H-2B compliance inspections during routine internal reviews, while performing due diligence (in the context of a merger, acquisition or sale) or while defending a company against a government investigation.

Laura represents many businesses in creating, managing and using “Regional Centers” that can create indirect jobs toward the 10 new U.S. jobs whose creation can give rise to EB-5 permanent residence for investment. She coordinates this work with attorneys practicing in securities law compliance, with economists identifying “targeted employment areas” and projecting indirect job creation, and with licensed securities brokers coordinating offerings. She also represents individual investors in obtaining conditional permanent residence and in removing conditions from permanent residence.

Laura’s practice also consists of managing business immigration matters and providing immigration counsel to address the visa and work authorization needs of U.S. and global personnel including professionals, managers and executives, treaty investors/ traders, essential workers, persons of extraordinary ability, corporate trainees, and students. She is an immigration policy advocacy expert and works on immigration reform policies.

Admitted in the District of Columbia and Maryland. Not admitted in Virginia. Practice limited to federal immigration practice.
Photo of Rebecca B. Schechter ‡ Rebecca B. Schechter ‡

Rebecca Schechter focuses her practice on business immigration and compliance, representing multi-national corporations midsized companies, and startups, as well as individual clients. She has experience with all areas of employment-based immigration, particularly H-1B, L-1, O-1 and E-2 petitions, as well as outstanding researcher…

Rebecca Schechter focuses her practice on business immigration and compliance, representing multi-national corporations midsized companies, and startups, as well as individual clients. She has experience with all areas of employment-based immigration, particularly H-1B, L-1, O-1 and E-2 petitions, as well as outstanding researcher petitions and labor certification applications. Rebecca regularly assists GT clients with global immigration matters, including business and work visas to countries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. She also works on state and federal I-9 and E-Verify audits. Rebecca has a thorough understanding of third party contractor issues and experience handling complex naturalization, deportation defense, family and employment-based adjustment applications.

Admitted in Maryland and Connecticut. Not admitted in Virginia. Practice limited to federal immigration practice.