With so much tension in the air right now, every immigrant in Texas should always be alert and prepared for anything. For green card holders, that means fully understanding what you can do to minimize the risk of losing your green card and with it your lawful permanent resident (LPR) status.
By maintaining your green card, you are putting yourself in a strong position to show that you are in the United States legally, that you are abiding by all the laws and rules everyone else follows, and that you should be allowed to remain here even as the laws shift and change.
7 Things That Will Help You Keep Your Green Card
Once you’ve gone through the work and waiting period to obtain your green card, you’ll want to stay in good standing so you can retain your LPR status. These are some of the key things to do to achieve this critical goal:
- Do not commit any crimes: Violating any criminal law is the fastest way to lose your green card. Depending on the crime, you could even risk deportation.
- Keep your green card up to date: If your card is expiring in the next six months, if you’ve changed your name, or if your card was lost or stolen, start the process to renew your card.
- Get a job in Texas: Maintaining employment shows you are a part of the local community and contributing to the economy.
- File your tax returns: Meeting all your tax obligations is crucial to maintaining your immigration status.
- Maintain financial accounts and a place of residence in the U.S.: Doing these things shows that you are truly living your life in America.
- Keep your spouse and kids in the U.S.: Living here with your family is a sign of true commitment and shows that your intent to stay in the U.S. is genuine.
- Notify USCIS of your movements: If you move somewhere else within the U.S., notify the Customs and Immigration Service within 10 days.
What to Remember When Leaving the U.S. for an Extended Period
As a green card holder, if you are gone from the U.S. for more than six months, you will likely be questioned by U.S. Customs and Border Protection when you attempt to reenter. Some of the common questions are:
- Where do you live?
- How long have you been outside the U.S.?
- Why did you leave?
These questions are designed to help U.S. officials decide if you are sincere in your intent to reside in America.
When returning to the U.S., have your green card ready and present it to border officials right away. If you have a home and family in the U.S., make sure to explain that to the border agent, because it helps show that you have a good reason for coming back and that you plan to stay and contribute to society.
Green Card Questions? We’re Here to Help.
Based in Dallas, Mark E. Jacobs, P.C. is a law firm dedicated to helping immigrants navigate the system, maintain immigration status, and avoid negative immigration outcomes. If you are worried about keeping your green card, we can help. Call 972-445-7577.