*This guide has been written for US green card holders, but some of the prinicpals may hold true for green card holders from other countries as well.
Maintaining Green Card Status
You can return to India as a green card holder. However, inorder to maintain your green card status, you are required to maintain a residence in the US and are also required to be physically present in the US for at least 183 days in a calendar year.
Living Outside US
- For less than 6 months: You can do so freely. You are only required to carry your green card and your passport.
- For More than 6 months but less than 1 year: Doing this once in a while is fine. However, if you do this repeatedly over successive years, you run the risk that you will be stripped off your green card. If the authority at the port of entry decides that you are not really “living” in US, he has the authority of stripping you off your green card.
- For More than a year but less than 2 years: If you wish to remain outside US for more than a year, but less than 2 years, you need to apply for a re-entry permit before you leave. You can see the details here
- For 2 years or more: If you are unable to make a trip to the US even after 2 years, you need to apply for a returning resident visa. For more information about the returning resident visa, click here
Tax Implications for Green Card Holders Living Outside US
When a foreign national receives his or her permanent resident status or green card, they are required to pay taxes on their worldwide income. A failure to pay these taxes may impact their green card renewal or citizenship.
Even if the green card holder lives or works outside the United States, he/she is required to file Income Tax in US each year. As per the regulations of the IRS, you are a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. (even if you live abroad) and treated as a US resident for income tax purposes. You are therefore subject to tax on your worldwide income.
The DTAA (Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement) will only help in ensuring that a particular income is not taxed twice.