Can I keep my green card if I return each 6 months?

A reader who is a GC holder asks if she can live and travel overseas but just return to the United States before six months expire.  Will she be able to keep her green card and then apply for citizenship when she has had it for five years?



You see having the permanent resident status is about planing your roots in America and living here.  If you spend most of your time overseas but return for a few days just to meet the legal requirement, the officer at the airport has a lot of discretion in not admitting you into the country, recommending cancellation of your green card, and that can happen even if you have some roots here like a valid driver's license or a home or bank account.  Obviously, you will not meet the eligibility requirements of naturalization with a residence history like that and will need to wait till you settle down in the US.