How to Keep Your Permanent Residency Status
Getting a green card does not mean you can do just about anything and get away with it. There are a few conditions that need to be met in order for you to maintain your residency in the United States. If you are wondering how to keep your permanent residency status intact, here are a few things you will have to keep in mind:
Abide the Law
Most people end up losing their residency because of a crime they have committed. Regardless of the fact it may not have been a major felony or crime it can compromise your permanent residency status. Even though there is no list telling you about these crimes, you can get into a lot of trouble for breaking the law. In case you are ever arrested, you will not only need to consult a criminal lawyer but you will need to find out whether you can or will be deported for it. This means that you will also need to hire an immigration lawyer.
Previously, it wasn’t much of a problem but security concerns have led to the implementation of strict measures. Rather than risking your permanent residency, it would be wise to abide by the law and find out more about situations you are uncertain about from the USCIS.
Don’t Stay Abroad Longer than Required
Contrary to popular belief, acquiring a green card does not mean you have to enter the U.S. once a year to maintain your permanent residency. You actually risk your permanent residency if you leave with the intention of residing in another country as your permanent home. Border officials track and monitor your location and will look for instances or evidence proving that your permanent residence is in fact not in the United States.
On the other hand, staying abroad for a year or so does not mean you will certainly lose your green card. If it was temporary, you can argue to keep your residency. But this is only possible if you have a special immigration visa or a reentry permit as a returning resident. We advise our clients not to stay outside of the U.S. for more than 6 months.
File for Citizenship
One of the best ways for overcoming these obstacles is by applying for citizenship. As soon as you are eligible you must take advantage of this opportunity to avoid all complications. A green card holder usually needs to wait for at least five years before he/she can be eligible for citizenship. But there are exceptions where the waiting time is reduced to four years or even less if you have received asylum or are married to a U.S. citizen.
Keeping these factors in mind, you should now be able to keep your permanent residency status intact without having to worry about losing it. If you do have any questions or concerns it would be wise to seek legal counsel from an immigration lawyer.
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