It can take a lot of work to obtain a green card. After putting in all the effort and going through the waiting process, some immigrants may not believe that the U.S. government can take away their permanent resident status, but it can.
Green cards are only valid for a set period of time. If you have achieved permanent resident status, you will need to, at some point, either renew your green card or complete the naturalization process. If you do not, you may lose your permanent residency status and may be subject to removal. If your green card has expired, you can seek legal assistance in trying to maintain your permanent resident status and avoid deportation.
Under what circumstances can the government revoke permanent resident status?
Some green cards are granted on a conditional basis. If you fail to meet the condition for which the government awarded your permanent residency status, you could possibly lose it. For example, if you applied for a green card because you are getting married, you will need to follow through with the marriage in order to keep your status. If you break off your engagement or the union does not happen within a certain time frame, removal may be a possibility.
Another way you may lose your green card is if you are required to attend removal proceedings for any other reason, and an immigration judge issues a deportation order.
What if I am accused of abandoning my permanent resident status?
It is true that some people choose to abandon their permanent resident status. The government may assume a person intends to abandon their status if they leave the country for an extended period of time, fail to pay taxes or make a declaration of nonimmigrant on his or her tax return.
If you have plans to return to your native country or travel outside the United States and you know you will be gone for a lengthy period, there are steps you can take to make sure the goverment knows you are not abandoning your green card. For example, you may:
- Inform immigration services of your trip
- Give a reason for you absence
- Ask for a re-entry permit before leaving
- Visit a U.S. consulate while traveling to obtain a returning resident visa
If you did not do any of the above before or after leaving the U.S. and your green card is revoked, an experienced attorney may still be able to help you get it reinstated.
Have you lost or are you on the verge of losing your status?
Losing your green card or the thought of it is, understandably, difficult to handle. Thankfully, you do not have to address this issue on your own. Turn to skilled immigration attorneys who can help you fight for the chance to maintain your permanent resident status or seek to have it reinstated.