I'm trying to find out if I need a re-entry permit or not. Here are my circumstances: My status is IR1 (10 year GC) and I have a completely established life in the US. Work, own a couple of properties and so on. Now, I've now been offered and accepted a job in Europe. It's a three year contract and me and my family (wife and one child) are all moving. We will keep some ties to the US, will will continue to own three properties, pay US taxes for on properties and income, and we will travel back to the US now and then. Maybe 2 times per year.
When my contract is over we haven't decided what to do, but moving back to the US will definitely be an option we will consider. I definitely want to have that option. Therefor I'm considering applying for a re-entry permit to keep my greencard. I'm aware that a re-entry permit is only valid for 2 years, and after that I need come back and apply for another one. I'm also aware that it's pretty expensive, and I may actually save some money by giving up my green card and just apply for a IR1-visa if we decide to move back. But the processing time of such visa is a about a year and we then need to make decisions (and pay fees) long before we actually know what we want to do. It would be easier to keep my green card and have the flexibility to move back with no hassle, even if the combined fees would be higher.
But do I really need one? During these three years I will never be out of the US for a full year. Most probably I will be in the US probably two times per year to see family and friends. All the information about re-entry permits specifies that a re-entry permit is for stays outside of the US that are longer than a year, which my stays never will be. My intention of moving is not to leave the US permanently, but to work abroad for a specific time and then come back. Or, possibly, change my mind and decide to stay and return my green card, but as of today I have no intention to permanently leave the US.
What are your advice for my situation? Do I need a re-entry permit? Will frequent visits "reset" the clock? Or should I skip it and, if necessary, apply for a new CR1-visa if we decide to move back?