Permission to enter the U.S. and establish permanent residence does not establish
a person as a U.S. lawful permanent resident. That person must have been actually
admitted to the U.S. to establish permanent residence.
A claimant/beneficiary lawfully admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence is considered
a U.S. resident until:
DHS/INS advises SSA or the claimant/beneficiary that it has determined his/her resident
status has been abandoned (This includes information on the SAVE program showing resident
status has been revoked or abandoned); or
The claimant/beneficiary (or his/her payee) advises SSA that he/she has abandoned
his/her U.S. resident status.
A person who has been lawfully admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence can leave
the U.S. and still keep his/her U.S. resident status for tax purposes. It is immaterial
how long he/she lives outside the U.S. For IRS purposes, U.S. resident status does
not require physical presence in the U.S. once a person has been lawfully admitted
for permanent residence.
U.S. residence status continues until the person abandons his/her resident status
or SSA becomes aware that the status has been determined by Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) to have been abandoned or revoked.
Thus, a claimant/beneficiary who shows he/she is living in another country in question
3 of the SSA-21 may, under certain circumstances, be considered a U.S. resident for
There will be cases in which a claimant/beneficiary left the U.S. a long time ago
but still has his/her I-551. If the claimant/beneficiary tried to enter the U.S.,
DHS would probably make a determination that he/she had, in fact, abandoned his/her
resident status. However, until such a determination is actually made by DHS, the
claimant/beneficiary will be treated as a U.S. resident for alien tax purposes if
he/she considers himself/herself to be a U.S. resident and submits the necessary evidence.
A DHS determination cannot be inferred based on the assumption that DHS would make
a determination of abandonment if the alien tried to reenter the U.S.