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Protecting Your “Green Card” (Permanent Residence)

For many, the process of obtaining lawful permanent resident ("green card" or "Green Card") status can be a complex and challenging endeavor. Having a green card can provide certainty and peace of mind that you can live and work permanently in the United States. However, your permanent resident status can be revoked under certain scenarios:

  • Committing certain crimes can have devastating consequences for permanent residents, including the loss of their residency (green card) and deportation. Drug crimes (including marijuana), domestic violence crimes, firearms crimes, and other crimes involving "moral turpitude" (a general term to describe acts that are morally reprehensible and inherently wrong) are a few. Examples of crimes that could get you deported. It is critical that you speak with an attorney before admitting guilt to any crime and seek the advice of an immigration attorney to understand how an arrest will affect your immigration status before the criminal case is complete.
  • Certain non-citizens, such as those who obtained their status through a recent marriage, may receive a conditional green card that is valid for a period of two years. Failure to remove the conditions on a green card in time can result in termination of conditional residency and possible deportation. It is important to monitor the expiration date of the conditional green card and follow the process to remove the conditions correctly.
  • Work in certain "Professional Occupations" that are specifically listed in the USMCA.
  • Non-citizens, including permanent residents, who claim to be US citizens, whether in writing or not, are subject to removal from the United States. A false claim of US citizenship is a serious violation of the law and can have extreme and devastating immigration consequences. Waivers of this removable ground are rarely, if ever, granted.
  • Prolonged absences by US Green Card holders who remain outside the United States for long periods of time risk determining that they have abandoned their permanent resident status. In general, travel outside of the United States is permitted for less than six months. A trip of six months to a year can trigger increased scrutiny at the border, and the permanent resident must have a reasonable explanation for the long trip. Travel of one year or more will likely result in a determination that you have abandoned your permanent resident status unless you have obtained prior approval for extended absence through a document known as a reentry permit.

If you think one or more of the situations described above might apply to you, please contact us.