Why Rachel Weisz Needed U.S. Citizenship

According to MSN‘s rather tabloid-y “Movie News,” Actress Rachel Weisz “now admits she applied for [U.S.] citizenship to ensure she would not be stripped of her permanent residence status if she decided to move back to Britain.”

Shock and horror! Okay, it’s not exactly a showstopper of an “admission.” In fact, it sounds to me like Ms. Weisz is getting better legal advice than some green card holders, who operate according to various myths like, “I can keep my green card as long as I visit the U.S. every six months.”

The truth of the matter is that once a person receives U.S. lawful permanent residence (a green card), that person is expected to actually reside, otherwise known as live, in the United States. If a green card holder’s main home is in another country, it doesn’t really matter how much time the person spends there — the U.S. authorities can deny reentry to the U.S. and cancel the green card on grounds of abandonment of residence.

So, ironically, becoming a U.S. citizen will allow Rachel Weisz to spend less time in the United States. But don’t worry — having recently spent $11.5 million on a New York penthouse to share with new husband Daniel Craig, Ms. Weisz will probably be spending plenty of time here.

For details on abandonment of residence, see the articles on Nolo’s website under, “After Getting Your Green Card: How to Keep It.”