Permanent Resident Status
by following the Green Card Law
Being awarded green card status means that you can enjoy all of the privileges of permanent residence in the United States. It also makes you eligible to eventually apply for US citizenship. Although you may have received permanent resident status, it is necessary to follow the green card law to ensure that you do not lose your status and the privileges that come with it.
If you wish to maintain permanent resident status it helps to familiarize yourself with the green card laws and the types of violations which could cause you to lose your green card and face deportation.
The following information will provide you with the basis for green card laws and the different ways you could lose lawful permanent residency in the United States.
Violation of the Law
One of the main ways you can lose your green card is through violation of the law either by a criminal offense or a civil violation of the US laws. The violation of the law does not necessarily have to involve jail time in order for you to lose your green card status. Sometimes it can be as simple as a misdemeanor or traffic violation for you to be deported permanently to your country of origin.
Crimes such as lying, stealing or committing acts of violence are also considered to be a violation of the US law. Additionally, if you fail to report a change of address to immigration authorities within ten days of your move this is also considered a violation and could cause you to lose your green card and face deportation. Although it may appear to be a small matter failing to report your new address within 10 days is taken very seriously by the immigration authorities since it symbolizes an attempt to hide your whereabouts. As part of the green card law your green card must be kept up to date at all times.
Traveling Outside of the United States
Although you are allowed to travel outside of the United States, once you are awarded green card status it is generally a good idea to avoid staying in other countries for any extended period of time such as longer than one year. Although the green card law does not designate how long you can remain outside the US, if there is a pattern of extended stays out of the US the USCIS will start looking into the matter. If it is determined that you are intending to move to another country your green card status will be revoked.
If for any reason it is necessary for you to be outside of the United States for more than one year due to family reasons or other, the best way to handle an extended stay outside the US is to complete a form for a re-entry permit in advance of leaving the US. This indicates to the US immigration that your intentions are to return to the US and you do not plan to relocate to another country.
If at all possible, try to restrict your stays outside the US to no longer than six months. Also, if you become ill while outside the US which results in an extended stay, make sure you are prepared with verification of the illness when you return to the US.
These are the primary aspects with regard to the green card law that you must remember when it comes to maintaining permanent resident status. It is also important to avoid any violations of the law if you plan on eventually becoming a permanent US citizen.