What happens to a foreign national’s U.S. property when abandoning a green card?

If a foreign national chooses to abandon their lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, any property they own will not be affected. Non-resident aliens (NRAs) can purchase and own property in the United States even if they do not reside in the country. However, they will still be responsible for paying any applicable taxes imposed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in connection to the property. For example, a foreign national who abandons their LPR status and rents out their U.S. home will have to pay a special tax rate on their rental income. The tax rate for real estate income for an NRA, as of 2021, is 30%.

To relinquish LPR status, a foreign national must submit Form I-407, Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status, to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The agency will update the foreign national’s record to show that they are no longer an LPR.

It is possible for a person’s LPR status to be revoked by USCIS if there is a determination that they do not have the intent to reside permanently in the United States. This is a mistake that can commonly occur when traveling with a green card. A person who is residing outside of the United States for an extended time could be deemed to have abandoned their LPR status. It is important for each person to understand the limitations around travel and adhere to them.

Individuals who hold U.S. permanent resident status (even conditional permanent resident status, as in the case of EB-5 investors) are permitted to travel. However, certain conditions need to be met. To maintain permanent resident status, a person’s primary place of residence must be the United States. When traveling, it is the individual’s responsibility to demonstrate an intent to return. When determining such an intent, USCIS considers a number of factors, including previous travel patterns, familial and business ties in the United States, and even property ownership.

Anyone with an intent to relinquish their LPR status would be wise to enlist the help of an immigration attorney for guidance.