Now, more than ever, immigrants in the United States must be ready and prepared in case events spiral down against their favor. If this happens, be ready and prepared with the knowledge on how to maintain your green card. Many green card holders jeopardize their situation by leaving the U.S. for extended periods of time, abandoning or losing their permanent resident status, or breaking the law. You can hold onto your green card through the following:
- Keep your green card up to date
- Get a job in the U.S.
- File your tax returns
- Maintain financial accounts and own a home in the U.S.
- Keep your spouse and kids in the U.S.
- Register for selective service
- Notify USCIS within 10 days of moving within the U.S.
Even if you do all of these things, you could still run the risk of losing your green card due to select events.
Leaving the U.S. for An Extended Period of Time
If you are gone from the U.S. for more than 6 months, you may be questioned by U.S. Customs and Border Protection upon re-entry. The first 3 questions are usually:
- Where do you live?
- How long have you been abroad?
- What was the reason for your trip?
These questions are used to find out what your intent has been for leaving the U.S. They are also used to determine how securely you reside in the U.S. If you are returning to home and family, Border Protection can determine that you have a good reason for coming back and are contributing to U.S. society. When re-entering the U.S., present your green card immediately to border officials. This indicates you have intention for re-entering the U.S. If you plan on leaving the U.S. for up to 2 years, file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, otherwise known as a reentry permit. This will serve as your permit for reentry when returning to the U.S. If you do not get a reentry permit, you will have to visit a U.S. consulate and prove you were gone from the U.S. due to circumstances out of your control.
Violating the Law
There are a lot of crimes that can qualify someone for losing their green card. You could even get deported for a misdemeanor charge under some circumstances.
What Happens if My Green Card Status Has Been Revoked?
You must get either a Petition for Alien Relative or Returning Resident Status. If you're ready to start this process, contact the immigration attorney at Salmon-Haas now. They can help guide you through the steps to regain your green card and start you on the process of naturalization.