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How do I maintain my green card?

By November 12, 2018March 17th, 2021Family Immigration, Immigration
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Although a Green Card is thought to be Permanent, there are a number of ways one could lose the permanent residency status. Here is an email that we send to our clients after they receive a green card that outlines some guidance to preserve green card status.

Green Card Congratulations Email

Congratulations on your recent Green Card approval! We are writing to provide some information about maintaining your green card and permanent resident status. Please reach out if you have any questions.

Things that you have to do as a green card holder to maintain your green card status:

  • Report a change of address to USCIS within 10 days of a change of address. Please note that failure to report a change of address can result in a fine of $200 and imprisonment for 30 days. Failure to comply is also a ground for deportation/removal for which there is no waiver available. While this seems like a minor infraction, it is taken VERY seriously by USCIS. The change of address form can be mailed or completed electronically. Form AR-11 and its instructions can be found here:
  • You must file your income taxes and report your income to the U.S. Internal Revenue Services (IRS) and state taxing authorities
  • You must obey all laws of the United States, states, and localities
  • You must support the democratic form of government and not change the government through illegal means
  • If you are a male of age 18 through 25, you must register for Selective Service

Also keep in mind, that you may lose your green card status if you abandon your permanent residence by:

  • Moving to another country and intending to live there permanently
  • Remaining outside of the U.S. for an extended period of time (1 year or more) unless intended to be a temporary absence and you have notified immigration of this absence. Obtaining a re-entry permit from USCIS before you leave, or a returning resident visa (SB-1) from a U.S. consulate while abroad, may assist you in showing that you intended only a temporary absence. However, keep in mind that abandonment may be found to occur in trips of less than a year where the officer believes that you did not intend to make the U.S. your permanent residence. Please consult us before taking any long-term trips (6 months or more) outside the U.S.
  • You declared yourself a “nonimmigrant” on your U.S. tax returns

If you have 10-year Green Card and you want to renew it:

  • You should renew your Green Card if your card is either expired or will expire within the next 6 months
  • To renew your green card: file Form I-90 (Application to replace Permanent Resident Card)

Removing conditions on your 2-year Green Card

  • You must file a petition to remove conditions during the 90 days before the card expires otherwise you will lose your conditional permanent resident status
  • If you obtained your Green Card through marriage: you must file form I-751 (Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence) during the 90 days the card expires
  • If you obtained your Green Card through EB-5 investment: you must file form I-829 during the 90 days before the card expires

You may apply for U.S. citizenship once you have been a permanent resident for 5 years, as long as you meet all the other citizenship requirements. Please also note that spouses of U.S. citizens may apply for U.S. citizenship once they have been a permanent resident for 3 years. They must have been married to the U.S. citizen spouse and residing with them for that 3 year period. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish us to assist you with the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.

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