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Do I have to file i-407 before applying for a new green card?

An I-407 form is used when an individual wants to voluntarily and willingly abandon their status as a lawful permanent resident such as when they wish to live somewhere other than the United States. After you leave the United States, the form is delivered to a U.S. embassy or consulate, in person or by mail, along with your physical green card. Keep in mind that once you abandon your lawful permanent residence, it will be necessary to apply for an appropriate visa in order to re-enter the United States.

From the nature of your question, it is unclear if you are still in the states or have been gone for a period of time. If you are currently in the U.S. and do not wish to abandon your U.S. residence, yet you are planning to travel for an extended period of time, you may want to consider filing a reentry permit with Form I-131. Such a permit should be filed before you begin to travel and allows a green card holder to travel outside the U.S. for up to 2 years. An experienced immigration attorney can assist you with the application and the rules for travel and reentry.

Depending on how long you have been out of the states, it is likely that your lawful permanent resident was considered abandoned. If you wish to return to the U.S., and you qualify to re-apply for a green card, you should file an I-407 in order to confirm or clarify your intent.

The decision of whether or not to abandon your status as a lawful permanent resident should be taken very seriously. Once it is abandoned, any immigration petitions that you filed on behalf of your family members will be deemed abandoned and you lose the right to apply for government sponsored benefits. If you wish to review the specifics of your case before you decide whether or not to leave the U.S., you can speak w/ an experienced immigration attorney through LawTrades. We’re a legal marketplace for people to find an affordable attorney in a easy and efficient manner. Good luck!