Understanding the Basic Responsibilities of Permanent ResidencyMost people go through lengthy and frustrating process with a lot of effort to get their green card residency. But there are important rules to follow to maintain a permanent residency, otherwise risk losing the permanent resident status and have the green card revoked. There's a major misconception about the permanent residency, and many people believe it's the same as citizenship with the exception of ineligibility to vote or serve for jury duty. But that's not true. A permanent residency is a privilege, not a right.
A permanent residency gives an immigrant a lot of rights, but it also comes some responsibilities.The easiest way to have a green card revoked is to violate the law. This might seem like a common sense when it comes to the violation of major criminal laws, but some minor violations that may seem like an innocent oversight can easily get an immigrant in trouble. All green card holders must:
- Obey federal, state, and local laws.
- Pay federal, state, and local income taxes.
- Register with the Selective Service (males between 18 and 26 years of age).
- Maintain the permanent resident status.
- Carry proof of permanent residency at all times.
- Let the USCIS know of a change of address within 10 days.
Don't violate any lawsCommitting a crime is the most obvious violation of the law. Crimes such as murder, terrorism, rape and sexual assault, drug trafficking, and violent robberies are some of the obvious crimes many people think of when it comes to violation of the law. But there are many other violations of the law most people think of as negligible and easily overlook. Here's an impartial list of some of the other violations of the law that could put a green card in jeopardy:
- Vote in federal or local elections that are open to citizens only.
- Falsely claim to be a citizen.
- Lie to get immigration benefits, and this includes having lied in the past during the permanent residency application process.
- Lie or violate immigration laws to help someone else get immigration benefits.
- Don't sign false affidavits or other documents to help someone else with their immigration issues.
- Don't help smuggle an illegal immigrant into the United States
- Lie to get public benefits.
- Be a habitual drunk or a recreational illegal drug user. Some states may have legalized marijuana use for medical or other purposes. Be careful with this one. It is still illegal under the federal law, and the permanent residency is a federal issue not a state issue.
- Get arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Commit polygamy.
- Fail to pay spousal or child support as ordered.
- Get arrested for assaulting or harassing someone. This includes domestic violence and violating a protective order (stalking etc.). Don't go to night clubs, get drunk, and get into a fight. It's not worth the risk of losing the permanent residency.
Maintain the permanent resident statusIt is important to maintain a permanent residency in the United States, otherwise your permanent resident status may have been considered to be abandoned. Any of the following will jeopardize losing your permanent resident status and risk getting your green card revoked:
- Move to another country and live there permanently.
Remain outside the United States for an extended period of time.
- If you travel abroad for work or any other reason, try to re-visit the United States more than once a year.
- If you plan to travel abroad for more than one year, make sure to obtain a re-entry permit or a returning resident visa.
- Don't remain outside the United States for more than two years after issuance of a re-entry permit.
- Fail to file an income tax return while living abroad.
- Declare yourself a Non-resident on your tax return.
Let the USCIS know of a change of address within 10 daysIf you move, you must notify the USCIS of a change of address within 10 days. This is required by law and a failure to do so is considered a violation of this law, and jeopardizes your permanent residency status. Please click here to request a change of address online at USCIS.
If you are in trouble with the immigration, please look through our directory of immigration lawyers and find a competent attorney for help. Immigration laws are very complicated and the outcome is highly unpredictable. It is better to have an experienced attorney represent you than to fight your case alone. It's not worth getting your green card revoked.
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