Green Card: Lawful Permanent Residence Eligibility
You must reside in the U.S. permanently to maintain your permanent resident status; otherwise, you risk losing your social standing.
But just because you have a Green Card or are a lawful permanent resident (LPR) does not indicate your path is ending. On the contrary, the road to keeping the ability to reside and work in the U.S. has only just begun, although the initial step may be complete. So preserving your status as a legal resident in the U.S. is essential, especially if you want to seek U.S. citizenship.
As a Green Card holder, you now have significant rights and obligations concerning the United States, your chosen country. It’s essential to remember that possessing a Green Card is not a “title” but rather a “privilege” that the U.S. state may remove under certain circumstances if you’re an LPR.
How To Sustain Your LPR Eligibility Or Green Card
You should take the following steps to maintain your Green Card status here in the U.S., including Fort Worth TX, specifically, if you want to apply for nationality in the future:
- Avoid traveling overseas for an extended period or migrating abroad to reside there permanently.
- Consistently submit your federal, state, and local tax returns for income in your capacity as a resident.
- If you’re a male between 18 and 25, sign up for military conscription.
- Let DHS know immediately every time you transfer.
Do Not Travel Overseas For A Lengthy Period Of Time
Many immigrants assume they can stay outside the U.S. for as long as they like, as long as they come at least every year. This is fiction. If you take an extended or repeated absence, it may be considered that you do not intend to retain your Green Card standing in the U.S. or sustain a permanent residence overseas.
When this happens, long-term non-citizen legal residents may be perceived to have abandoned their status in the U.S. They might lose their Green Card if they cannot demonstrate that they want to dwell consistently in the U.S.
If you have spent more than six months or a year overseas, it may be decided that you have abandoned your Green Card identity. However, it may also depend on the grounds for your departure and how you have managed your Green Card condition in the U.S.
Before leaving the country, you need to apply for re-entry documentation.
You can stay outside the U.S. continuously for two years if you possess a re-entry permit. You can submit the re-entry permit with your Visa or Green Card at a U.S. port of entry.
Even if you have a re-entry permit, admission to the U.S., including Fort Worth TX is not guaranteed. It demonstrates that regardless of the length of your overseas vacation, it was only temporary and that you still consider the U.S. home. However, you must be ready to show that you are still a Green Card holder despite being overseas.
Submit Tax Returns
You must submit income tax filings as a resident and disclose all of your overseas earnings to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You should immediately file this in your town, or municipal tax authority as soon as you become a Green Card holder.
This is because the U.S. Government could use your failure to submit income tax returns when you stay outside the country for a lengthy period. Thus, your identification as a “non-resident” on your tax returns proves that you surrendered your right to legal residence.
Sign Up For The Selective Service
Men between 18 and 25 must enlist with the U.S. Selective Service. You notify the U.S. Government that you can serve there when you register in the armed services. The U.S. does not officially have military conscription. Thus, citizens and lawful permanent residents are not obliged to enlist in the military unless they decide to join.
Notify DHS Whenever You Relocate
You must notify the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of your new location each time you change addresses. Within ten days of your departure, you must complete Form AR-11, Alien’s Change of Address Card. This registration can be submitted online at no expense.
Obey All Applicable U.S., State & Local Laws
As a Green Card holder, you have to abide by all federal and state legislation, as well as any local ordinances. In addition, all Green Card
holders must remain aware of engaging in or being found guilty of certain crimes. When this happens, the U.S. may expel or “deport them” from the nation or prohibit them from applying for citizenship.
The following are a few examples of activities that could threaten your Green Card:
- Any conduct that falls within the threshold of an “aggravated felony,” which comprises violent crimes with a one-year prison term.
- Terror-related actions.
- Minor sexual assault.
- Illegal trade of goods like drugs, weapons, or individuals.
- A “moral turpitude” crime.
You face huge consequences as a legal citizen if you:
- Used lies to obtain immigration benefits for oneself or another.
- Vote in a federal or local election solely open to U.S. citizens.
- Are taken into custody for offenses involving domestic violence, including assault, harassing, or breaching an order of protection against a household member.
- Failing to provide for your household or not providing child or spousal support as necessary.
- Fail to submit tax returns in a timely manner.
Before leaving the country, if you have ever been accused of a crime, you should speak with an experienced immigration lawyer that helps immigrants with legal matters.
Importance Of Maintaining Your Green Card Status
In Fort Worth TX, after holding a Green Card or becoming a legal resident for five years, an individual can apply for naturalization to become a citizen of the U.S.
This duration is shortened to: (1) Three years if the legal resident is engaged to an American citizen and obtained their Green Card through that partner. (2) Four years if a residence permit was secured through the refugee or political asylum classifications.
Green Card holders can request citizenship up to 90 days before they’ve satisfied the qualifying period.
Only by properly preserving your Green Card status can you be certain that you can naturalize and become a U.S. citizen. At the same time, to enjoy the benefits that are available only to U.S. citizens, such as:
- Voting rights.
- The right to run for federal Government political office.
- The availability of registering for particular jobs in the public sector.
- The absence of the concern of deportation.
- The ability to travel anywhere around the globe without worrying about sacrificing one’s “status” inside the U.S.
Traveling Overseas With A Green Card
You will be limited in how long you can exit the U.S. as a Green Card holder. The typical time you could spend abroad is one year. However, the period of this term mostly depends on whether you wish to apply for citizenship.
However, depending on your citizenship and the Visa requirements of your home country, you may be permitted to travel without a Visa. For example, if you plan to go to one of the European countries, your nationality will affect whether you need to qualify for a Schengen Visa.
Comparisons Between A U.S. Visa & A Green Card
A Green Card grants lifelong permission to reside in the U.S., but a Visa is only available for a particular time.
There are more variations between a Green Card and a Visa than similarities. The most important thing to remember is that an immigrant Visa could result in a Green Card. At the same time, a Green Card can lead to U.S. citizenship, the maximum status a foreign citizen can attain in the U.S.
A Green Card can also be earned in other ways. The variations between the two are described in the following:
A Visa is given out in the form of stamping or sticker affixed on a traveler’s passport, whereas a Green Card is carried out as a green plastic photo ID card.
Although it must be extended every ten years, a Green Card is lifelong and does not expire. On the other hand, a Visa is only authorized for a specific period of time and may be extended.
Holders of Green Cards are eligible to work. Conversely, those with a Visa can only operate if their Visa approves their profession.
Reach Out To Experienced Green Card Lawyers In Fort Worth, TX
Even though lawful permanent residents have many of the same privileges as U.S. citizens, it’s essential to remember that establishing permanent residency in the U.S. comes with considerable duties. Browse more here.
The advantage of being a Green Card holder in the U.S. comes with the significant responsibility of upholding the position by complying with the strict rules established for Green Card status. Failure to retain a Green Card status may quite likely lead to your permanent deportation from the U.S.
Contact Medlin Law Firm for more information on maintaining your Green Card status, determining your citizenship eligibility, or acquiring a re-entry permit. These experienced lawyers will be eager to assist you.