Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status in the US is a privilege that can be revoked. It means that you can lose your LPR status even after you have already received a Green Card. It is possible for you to lose LPR status under certain extreme circumstances.
You will lose your LPR status when you abandon your permanent residence in the US, or when you become deportable for committing a serious crime or violating US immigration laws. It is very important that you maintain permanent residence in the US.
Many are of the belief that after getting a Green Card, they can travel freely back and forth or even relocate to their home countries. They also think that they can always reenter the US using their Green Cards as a travel document. Though an absence from the US does not automatically result in cancellation of the LPR status, an extended absence will however trigger the question of the alien’s intention to remain a permanent resident of the US.
Your intention to remain a permanent resident in the US is an important factor in the USCIS determining whether you have abandoned your permanent residence in the US. Apart from how long you have been absent from the US, the USCIS will look to many other facts that reflect your intent. The main factors that are considered in determining your intent are:
- the length of the your absence from the US and the purpose of your departure
- filing of US tax returns while in a resident status
- the location of your close family members
- the location and nature of your employment abroad
- the maintenance of other ties with the US
It is important to note that no single factor mentioned above is controlling with regard to your intent to maintain permanent resident status. The USCIS officers will analyze all other relevant factors to come to a decision.
Generally, if you leave the US for one year or less, you can use your green card as a reentry document. However, if you are absent from the US for more than one year, you might face difficulties reentering the US because the USCIS considers the absence of longer than one year as a possible abandonment of US residency. If you will be out of the US for more than one year, you will need to get reentry permits or special immigrant visas.
There are certain green card holders who think that in order to keep their LPR status, they can just return to the US once a year and stay for a few weeks. Just returning to the US and using the Green Card once a year has little bearing on the question of whether you have maintained the intention to remain a permanent resident.
Though some return to the US more frequently than once a year, they tend to lose their LPR status because they lack sufficient ties with the US that indicate that they consider the US to be their country of permanent residence. You can have multiple residences, but make sure you show that the US residence is the permanent one.
So if you wish to maintain your green card status, it is best advised to take the necessary steps to establish sufficient facts evidencing that you continue to maintain strong ties with the US and are retaining the US as your permanent home.
Applying for a green card :
There are different ways to get a permanent resident status. A family member who is a US citizen or permanent resident can sponsor you for a green card. Else, you can also get one through the Diversity Visa lottery program that is held every year. Approximately 55,000 applicants are randomly selected every year subject to certain eligibility conditions. You can also get a green card through employment. Here a qualified US employer needs to sponsor you. A person granted Refugee Status or Asylum may also apply for a Green Card. Like there are many ways to get a greencard, the process and procedures vary too.
Green card holders are known as lawful permanent residents (LPR). We need to understand that a green card is just a privilege and not a right as you may lose this status under a few circumstances. Plainly, it is not enough to just get a green card, you need to maintain it. Per immigration laws, you need to carry evidence of your status in the US at all times.
Benefits of being a green card holder :
As a green card holder, you can apply for government sponsored financial aid for educational purposes. You can pay less tuition fee in universities and colleges. This is also known as “in-state” tuition or “resident” tuition. Savings in most cases are three to four times lower than what foreigners pay. Additionally, as a green card holder, you are permitted to work in any company located in U.S. territory regardless of job function, hours/week, etc. except for some companies that only hire U.S. citizens. And you need not worry about employer sponsorship either. Some jobs require security clearance that only green card holders and U.S. citizens can get. Therefore, a green card provides more job opportunities.
Green card holders have the permission to start their own business and create own corporation. Social security is another benefit you will get when you retire, ie if you had worked for 10 years (40 quarters to be precise) before your retirement. Also, you can sponsor your spouse and unmarried minor children under 21 for them to get permanent resident status in the United States. In this case, the green card that you got for your family will still be valid even if you lose your job or pass away.
If you have a work permit, your spouse and minor unmarried children under 21 can stay in the U.S. as dependents. Even if you have a work permit, your kids have to get student visas to study and work visas to work. But, once they get a green card, they are allowed to stay in the U.S. even after turning 21 and even if they get married.
Another feature is that you will have access to security clearances. You will also be eligible for government grants and be exempted from export restrictions. You have the privilege of most legal rights under U.S. law, except for voting right which is only for U.S. citizens. You will be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship at a later stage, once you fulfill the eligibility requirements needed while applying for US citizenship. It is not mandatory that you take U.S. Citizenship. You can be a green card holder forever. If your current country allows dual citizenship, you can get U.S. citizenship without giving up your current nationality.