So, you are the proud owner of a green card. Does this mean you have all the rights an US citizen will have and this is a status you won’t be able to lose, as a permanent resident? Think again. Below are a few rules you will need to follow.
What are the rules?
There are a few conditions to meet, once you have been awarded the green card, if you want to be able to keep it for life. There are criminal and immigration laws you must not violate, including one law that asks you to inform authorities if you change addresses, within 7 to 10 days. Another thing implies that you must not abandon the US as a permanent residence.
What law violations should you keep away from?
Most commonly, if you have committed a crime, you are liable for losing your green card. Your immigration attorney will confirm the fact that “the crime” does not necessarily have to be a felony or anything major. It is enough to have committed domestic violence, or to be caught using or distributing drugs. Even aiding a person to illegally enter the US, or aiding and abetting a criminal are causes. Basically, any crime that is considered morally wrong is considered a motive to lift your green card.
Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a set list that tells you which crimes make you removable. If you get arrested for any crime, it is best to call not only your criminal lawyer, but an immigration attorney, who can help you avoid deportation. Don’t trust the judgment of only a criminal lawyer in this case, as they may unknowingly cause more harm and advise you to plead guilty on any of the crimes. Pleading guilty can have you deported.
There are other law violations that don’t fall under criminal law purview and they are still a base for deportation. One such violation involves getting married for green card, as a result of a sham, or any fraudulent green card obtaining methods.
Keep in mind that, in case you move and change your address, failing to inform authorities about that may bring about deportation.
Living outside of the US
If you believe that entering US soil once a year is enough, after you have your green card, you are wrong. As a matter of fact, if you leave US territory without an intention to make this country your permanent home, the law claims you have given up residency. So any border official is entitled to look for signals in your behavior, to look for travelling patterns and establish if your place of residence is not the United States.
As a general rule, if you have a green card and leave the United States for more than one year, you may have difficulty reentering the country.