Myths and Facts about the Green Card process Explained
Immigrants make up approximately 13% of the U.S. population. Many of these knew how to capitalize on the advice of a good immigration attorney, but more than a few hopefuls have an unrealistic view of the green card process. More than a few Green Card Myths and Facts Explained have sprung up around how it works, so we are here to set the record straight. Consider the following myths and facts so you stand a better chance of achieving the American Dream.
Green Card Myths and Facts #1: Green Cards Last Forever
Yes, a green card gives the holder the right to live and work in the US, and it is referred to as permanent residency, which is where the confusion arises. The truth is green cards have an expiry date and must be renewed. If you do not meet the required conditions, then your green card may not be extended.
Green cards through a marriage that is less than 2 years old are also conditional and subject to intense scrutiny. You must prove that your marriage has grown to prevent the risk of having your green card revoked because of “marriage fraud.” However, all other types of green cards are valid for 10 years, at which point, they must be renewed.
Green Card Myths and Facts #2: Officials at Border Access Points Can Force You to Surrender Your Green Card
A permanent resident with a lawfully acquired green card is required to always carry it with them. CBP agents can demand you present your green card at any time, but you will never be required to surrender it.
If your immigration status is challenged by a CBP agent, you have the right to a trial to prove your case. In situations where you are isolated for a secondary inspection, you may be asked to surrender your green card. You should never do this as it could constitute abandonment of your green card. Always speak to an immigration lawyer before you sign anything, otherwise, you risk losing your immigration status and the protection it provides.
Green Card Myths and Facts #3: It’s Easy to Get a Green Card
While there are a few different methods for getting through the green card program, none of them could be considered easy. Many people have the misconception that getting a green card through marriage is the easiest method, but the process of proving a real, loving relationship is grueling and subject to a lot of scrutiny during the first couple of years.
The next most common method of getting a green card through employment is also not easy. Immigrants will need to prove they have a high-demand skill, which is not common.
The Green Card Program is another popular method, but it too can be a long and complex process. First, you must be one of the 55,000 annual selected before submitting a complex DS-260 form where simple errors can disqualify you. The US Green Card Office can help you with this green card process, so be sure to find out more in our Green Card Program comparison chart if you intend to take your chances with an entry.
Green Card Myths and Facts #4: You Can Immediately Start the Naturalization Process
For many immigrants, a green card is the first step in a journey towards the American Dream of U.S. citizenship, but having a green card does not guarantee success, nor does it mean you can start the process straight away.
There is a mandatory waiting period for green card holders. For example, if you got your green card through marriage, the waiting period is at least 3 years before you can start your citizenship application.
Green Card Myths and Facts #5: You Can Live Outside of the U.S. During the Naturalization Waiting Period
This mistaken belief could get you into some serious trouble, such as losing your permanent resident status. Those who are seeking to live and work permanently in the U.S. should show their commitment by exercising that right. All green card holders are expected to physically reside in the United States. Failure to do so could also jeopardize your chances of naturalization.
You are allowed to travel outside of the U.S., but continuous travel that exceeds 6 months will be considered a disruption of your permanent status and will put you at risk of losing it.
Green Card Myths and Facts #6: Once You Have a Green Card, You Can’t Be Deported
While a green card does afford you some protection from deportation, there are conditions that can put you at risk. You are safe from deportation if you meet all the conditions of your green card. Failure of any one point could mean you have it revoked, which can make you a target for deportation. Some of the most common reasons for losing permanent resident status include:
- Committing a crime (there is a list of deportable offenses)
- Voting in a United States election
- Failure to maintain a physical, continuous presence
- Failing to report an address change
- Committing fraud
Green Card Myths and Facts #7: Green Card Holders Have the Same Rights as U.S. Citizens
A green card does provide some rights for permanent residents, such as the ability to work in the United States, but it comes with limitations. A lawful green card holder cannot do the following:
- Run for public office
- Vote in a United States election
- Work in a federal government job
- Travel abroad for an unlimited time
- Sponsor a family member for a green card
As stated above, there are many circumstances where green card holders can face deportation, while a naturalized citizen does not. The limitations of permanent residency are a significant reason why many immigrants start the naturalization process as soon as possible.
Do you need to know more about green card myths and facts? Get in touch to discover everything you need to know about immigrating to the United States as a permanent resident, along with expert advice on obtaining a green card through the Green Card Diversity Program. With our expert advice on the immigration system, you will significantly improve your chances of success.