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.
Generally, marriages that are performed legally and valid abroad are also legally valid in the United States. Should you have inquiries regarding the validity of a marriage abroad, you should direct it to the attorney general of the state in the United States where you live.
Marriages overseas are mostly performed by local, civil or religious officials. It is important to note that American diplomatic and consular officers are not allowed to perform marriages and marriages are not performed on the premises of any American embassy or consulate abroad.
The validity of marriages abroad solely depends on adhering to the laws of the country where the marriage is performed and does not depend on the presence of an American diplomatic or consular officer. However, Consular officers have the right to authenticate foreign marriage documents.
The embassy or tourist information bureau of the country where the marriage is to be held is the best source of information about marriage laws and procedures in that country. You can get some general information on marriage from the Overseas Citizens Services, Washington, DC. You can also get information from the American embassy and consulate abroad about marriage in the country in which they are located.
Marriages abroad are subject to the residency requirements of the country in which the marriage is to be performed. The waiting period is normally a long and winding one to obtain Green Card.
Many countries request for a valid U.S. passport be presented. Apart from this, birth certificates, divorce decrees, and death certificates have to be submitted. In some countries, you should have the documents presented to the marriage registrar first authenticated in the US by a consular official of that country. You can imagine how time consuming and expensive the process can turn out to be.
Though the age of majority for marriage differs from one country to another, as a general rule, persons under the age of 18 are required to present a written statement of consent executed by their parents before a notary public. In some countries, the law requires the parental consent statement be authenticated by a consular official of that foreign country in the US.
You should also get a certification from a competent authority that no impediment exists to the marriage. An affidavit of support eligibility to marry is needed.
Apart from the requirements mentioned above, many countries, like the US, require blood tests. Some countries may ask you to translate the documents presented to the marriage registrar into the native language of that country.
In some countries, getting married to a national of that country will automatically make the spouse a citizen of that country or make them qualify to become naturalized in that country in a quicker process. Such automatic acquisition of another nationality will not affect your American citizenship. But, getting naturalized in a foreign country on one’s own application and eligibility may result in the loss of American citizenship. It is best advised to persons planning to apply for a foreign nationality to contact an American embassy or consulate for any additional information.
US citizens are not the only ones who have to file tax returns. Certain US immigrants and residents may also have to file, depending on their immigration status in the US.
To figure out if you have to file a tax return in the US, you have to check whether or not you are classified as a tax resident. Per immigration laws, tax residents have to report their entire income, even if only a part of the income was earned in the US to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If part or the entire income was earned internationally, the income will be subject to international tax treaties. Income earned in the US will be taxed by the US government.
Green card holders:
All lawful permanent residents (green card holders) are considered as tax residents in the US. Some immigrants are considered as tax residents based on how much time they spend in the US. But it is important to remember that this applies only to visa holders and not immigrants who have already obtained permanent residency.
Green card holders who spend too much time outside of the US should note that traveling too much can be taken as abandoning a green card and could result in removal proceedings. If you are a green card holder and do not file taxes in the US, it could hamper your chances of obtaining US citizenship as submitting tax returns during your time as a green card holder is mandatory when filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Not filing taxes at all can also result in the deportation process.
Most immigrant visa holders are required to file US tax. Even if an immigrant visa holder has not been in the US a full year or has not made all of their income in the US, it establishes the fact that they are adapting to residency in the US. Tax returns are submitted as proof when immigrants file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
Non immigrant visa holders only become tax residents if they spend at least 183 days of the year within the borders of the US. However, per the IRS, non immigrants who have been in the US for a total of at least 183 “weighted days” during the prior three years are also classified as tax residents. All the days in the current year count as one day, all days in the previous year are taken as one-third of a day, and all days in the year before that are taken as one-sixth of a day. If the total comes out to 183 days, the non immigrant is required to file a tax return. But this system does not apply to student visa holders and some foreign nationals who work for the government.
Non immigrants who have not been in the US for 183 weighted or non-weighted days and who can prove that they have a tax home abroad can be exempted as tax residents.
Undocumented immigrants do not pay taxes, as they want to avoid government inquiries into their undocumented status. But tens of thousands of undocumented residents file US tax returns every year. The IRS does not ask any information about immigration status on the tax forms. The IRS is not allowed to disclose taxpayer information to other US government agencies. Many people who do not have a legal immigration status hope that filing their taxes will somehow lead them to American citizenship some time later.
Adjustment of status is the last step in the green card or (LPR) process (that of becoming a legal permanent resident). You, the foreign national have to file an I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status, most likely based on a pre-existing and approved or approvable Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) or Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative). I-485 applications and I-130 or I-140 petitions can be filed concurrently depending on the immediate availability of an immigrant visa number. You are required to file the adjustment of status application along with an I-693 Medical Examination of Alien issued by a licensed Civil Surgeon and also a G-325A, Biographic Information form. These serve as documents to a complete medical and immunological history as well as a record of your places of employment and residence during the past five years.
The USCIS will schedule a date for you to have your fingerprints, picture and signature recorded for their FBI background check and entry in the USCIS records. Normally, an interview with a USCIS official is required in a majority of cases.
You are allowed to work and travel with a pending adjustment of status application. The application will be considered abandoned if you do not attend a biometrics appointment or interview. Applications may also be rejected if
- The underlying immigrant petition is denied/withdrawn
- You are found to have entered or resided in the US illegally (this may be waived if you originally entered with a valid visa and are an immediate relative of the US citizen-petitioner)
- You are judged as undesirable on the grounds of previous criminal convictions, affiliation with unsuitable political parties/organizations (former members of the Communist Party) and poor character or have weakening health problems, as well as other inadmissible grounds.
Once your Form I-485 is approved, a permanent residency card (green card) valid for ten years will be issued to you. After five years, you will be eligible to apply for naturalization. If you are an LPR who got your green card through marriage, you will be eligible to apply for naturalization after only three years if you are still living with the same spouse who originally filed the petition for you.
If you are a green card holder, you have certain restrictions on your rights. If you marry a foreign born spouse, you may have to remain separated for years from your spouse or family while the paper work needed to get immigration authorization wades through the system. As mentioned earlier, permanent resident cards come with a validity of ten years and you have to renew it on its expiration. You have to file Form I-90, Application to replace green card to get your green card replaced.
Persons who have held asylee or refugee status for one year or more will also qualify to file the application to adjust status to a permanent resident.
However, note that if you are outside the US, you are not eligible to file an application to adjust status to Permanent Resident. Eligible applicants outside the US may get a green card by applying for an Immigrant Visa at a US consulate abroad.
One of the many advantages of being a US citizen is that you can sponsor your loved ones for a green card to come and live with you in the US. As a US citizen, you may petition your spouse, parents and children for the green card status. Whereas, if you a legal permanent resident (green card holder), you will be able to sponsor only your spouse and unmarried children.
Green Card For Child Application Process
The first step is the “Immigrant Petition” that will establish a qualifying relationship between you, the sponsor and your child abroad followed by the green card application. If your child is in the US, you can file the immigrant petition and green card for child application at the same time. But, if you are a lawful permanent resident, your child must wait for the immigrant petition to be approved before they can file the the green card application.
While sponsoring a green card for child, the first step is to submit Form I-130, the immigrant petition. If your child lives outside the US, the application for an immigrant visa has to be filed at a US consulate which has jurisdiction over your child’s place of residence.
If your child/children live in the US, then you file form I-485 through which you can adjust status. If your child lives in the US and is both unmarried and under the age of 21, then you can submit Form I-130 and Form I-485 at the same time. This is generally the fastest way to apply for a green card. As a legal permanent resident, if your child is married or over 21 or lives outside the US, then you must wait for the Form I-130 to be approved before moving to the next step in the process.
If you are a US citizen, you can also sponsor your married child for a green card. Married sons and daughters of US citizens fall in the third-preference category which means that they must wait for a visa number to become available before they can apply for a visa. In simple terms, married sons and daughters must wait longer than unmarried sons and daughters to apply for a green card. However, note that legal permanent residents may not sponsor their married sons and daughters for a green card.
As a US citizen parent, you can sponsor your unmarried children below the age of 21 as “immediate relatives”. They can directly apply for a green card without having to wait for a priority date to become current. Though, as a US citizen, you can sponsor your children who are married or over the age of 21, these children will not qualify as immediate relatives. These applicants will need to wait for their priority date to be current before they are eligible to apply for a green card.
A monthly visa bulletin published by the Department of State tells applicants when their priority date is current. Before applying for a green card, applicants must wait for their priority date to become current.
It is important to remember that if you are bringing a relative to live permanently in the US, you must accept legal responsibility for financially supporting this family member. You accept this responsibility and become your relative’s sponsor by completing and signing a document called an affidavit of support. This legally enforceable responsibility lasts until your relative becomes a US citizen or can be credited with 40 quarters of work (usually 10 years.)
Every year, thousands of people come to the United States of America, either for a visit or to live and work there. United States, the land of immigrants is the most preferred destination in terms of immigration. Immigrants understand the privileges of being lawful residents in the US. The process and procedures of entering the US vary based on the intention of one’s visit. Visas and green cards are the most commonly preferred methods to facilitate the visit. To get a visa or green card, US immigration forms have to be filed at the American Consulate in the immigrant’s home country or with the USCIS if the applicant is in the US.
Immigrant and non-immigrant visas are the two types of visas available. Non-immigrant visas are for temporary visits such as for tourism, study, or work whereas immigrant visas are for Permanent Residence later which will fetch you US Citizenship. Visitor visas, work visas, student visas are some of the visas that are issued based on the immigrant’s intention of visit. The US immigration forms are available on the government’s official website http://www.uscis.gov. Apart from this, there are many private websites that have the US immigration forms on their website and they charge a fee for helping the applicants in preparing and filing the forms. An attorneys’ assistance is sought at times to complete the forms that can be complicated at times.
The USCIS (formerly known as the INS) is the official government agency that processes and gives a decision for all the applications/petitions filed in the US. They are the sole authority that approves or rejects any form. Approximately 40% of the applications/petitions submitted are rejected annually because of being erroneous or incomplete. This proves that the US immigration forms are at times sophisticated to file. The US immigration laws are very strict and vigilant to make sure all immigrants enter and stay legally. So any form filed even with the smallest of errors gets rejected. The application is rejected if the authorities find even a small evidence of suspicion. So it is always recommended that the applicant be transparent and truthful in all the information he/she provides in the application.
All the immigration forms have separate filing instructions that will have information about the fees, the supporting documents they need to send and the mailing address and also other additional instructions that is user specific. After the applicant submits his/her application to the USCIS, he/she will get a receipt for the form filed. This notice will have a number with which the applicant can check the status of the application/petition submitted. The applicant will also be notified about the biometrics appointment. The processing time for the forms varies from one another. The process may be expedited for certain applicants considering the situation under which they are filing. The USCIS revises the forms frequently and it is the expiry and revision dates of the forms that get updated. Some applications can be e-filed. In this case, all supporting documentation can be submitted at the time of their interview.
Permanent residents have the authorization to live and work permanently in the United States. United States allows US citizens and permanent residents to help their immediate relatives to immigrate to United States on a permanent basis. Family based immigration is an immigrant visa classification which allows a foreign individual to become a permanent resident through a family member in the United States who is either a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident.
If you are a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident, you may then petition for your immediate relatives for a green card. Obtaining a Green Card for your family is a two step process. The first step is filing the Family Immigration Petition. This is filed to establish a qualifying relationship between yourself and your immediate relative. The second step involves applying for a green card. If the family member is inside the United States, then the applicant may qualify to adjust status to permanent resident without returning to their home country. Or if the family member is outside the United States, then the applicant must file the petition at the United States consulate or through an US Embassy that has jurisdiction over their foreign place of residence.
Green Card for Your Father:
Although the immigration law has given the privilege to both US citizens and lawful permanent residents to petition for their family members, only US citizens are allowed to petition for their parents. If you are looking out to obtain green card for your father, then you need to satisfy the following requirements.
1. To be eligible to petition for your father:
- you must be a US citizen
- you must be at least 21 years of age.
2. Your father must fall into one of these categories.
- Must be your natural father
- if step father, then he must have married your mother before you turned 18
- if adopted father, then you must have been adopted before you turned 16.
3. You must then file Form I 130 to petition your father. This form is used to request an immigrant visa for your father. You need to file your petition with USCIS along with supporting documents such as naturalization certificate or a US. passport. Submit your petition to the appropriate USCIS address.
4. When you send your petition to USCIS you must ensure you include the required supporting documents. The list of the supporting documents is given below.
- Birth Certificate showing he is your natural father
- Provide name change proof if your father has changed his name
- Natural parent’s marriage certificate. (If stepfather, provide marriage certificate to your biological mother)
- If you were adopted, then adoption decree before you turned 16 and a statement which mentions the places and time you lived with your adoptive parents
5. Once the I 130 petition to obtain a green card for your father has been approved, your father can apply for a green card. If your father is outside US he has to apply at a US consulate. If he is inside US, he should apply for adjustment of states with USCIS.
Permanent Residents or Green Card holders are authorized to live and work permanently in the United States. United States offers green cards to people in various ways and one of them is the employment based Green Card. In general, this means that an individual will be able to get a green card based on the fact that he or she has a permanent employment opportunity in the United States.
Generally, a sponsor is required to apply for an employment based green card. Wherever a job offer is mandatory for sponsoring the green card, it is for the future job that the employee will do after he or she obtains the green card. Hence it is possible for an employer to sponsor for a green card even if the employee is not working with them currently. There are few categories where a sponsor is not required. There are many people who are already in the United States working for the sponsoring employer with H1 or L1 visas when the green card application is filed.
Who may file?
Getting an employment based green card is a multi-step process. The sponsor must file the Form I-140 to sponsor the employee for a green card. The employer or the sponsor may file the petition for the following:
- An outstanding professor or researcher with at least 3 years of experience in teaching or research in the academic area,
- A person who has been employed in the area of a primary managerial or executive capacity for one year by a legal firm, corporation or other legal entity and who is willing to work in the United States for the same employer or subsidiary.
- Individuals with exceptional ability in the sciences and arts, or an individual having an advanced degree, who will benefit the national economy or the welfare of US
- Individuals who has skills to perform the labor in US where there are no qualified workers for that occupation in the US.
- An unskilled worker to perform the labor in US where there are no qualified workers for that occupation in the US.
If the sponsor or the employer is an individual, then the sponsor must personally sign the form I 140. If the sponsor is below 14 years then the sponsor’s legal guardian must sign the petition. If the sponsor is not an individual and if the sponsor is a legal entity or a corporation, then the employee of the concern, who has knowledge on the facts involved in the petition, must sign the petition.
Along with the petition the supporting documents must be sent to USCIS. One of the major document is the Labor Certification. This certification must be obtained before filing the form I-140 to prove that there are no skilled workers available or willing in US at the time or places of employment of the immigrant. If qualified workers are available then must prove that immigrant’s employment in the occupation will not affect the wages and working conditions of the workers in US.
There are various ways to obtain a permanent resident card or green card. An applicant may obtain a green card through employment, through a family member, asylum and refugee status, through green card lottery program or through adoption by a permanent resident or a US citizen . Most people obtain permanent residency through a family member who is a US citizen or permanent resident of the United States. The United States allows the US citizens and permanent residents to help their family members to live and work permanently in the United States.
1. What is family based immigration?
Family-based immigration helps certain people to become U.S. permanent residents through family members who are either US citizens or US permanent residents. The US citizen or permanent resident who petitions for a family member is called a Sponsor and the person for whom the petition is filed is called the Beneficiary.
2. Who is eligible to sponsor a family member for a green card?
A petitioner or the sponsor must be at least 18 years old, and a US citizen or legal permanent resident to sponsor a family member for a green card. The sponsor generally must live in the United States or in a territory or possession of the US.
3. Whom can I sponsor if I am a U.S. citizen?
If you are a US citizen, you may petition for the following individuals.
- Married or unmarried children,
- Brother or sister (only if you are at least 21 years old),
- Parents (only if you are at least 21 years old)
4. Whom can I sponsor if I am a legal permanent resident?
If you are a lawful permanent resident, you may then petition for your spouse (husband or wife) and unmarried children.
5. How to process a petition for my spouse who is in the United States in a different status?
If you are a US citizen, then you must file Form I 130 to petition for your spouse. Your spouse may also apply to adjust the status to permanent resident at the same time as your petition. If you are a legal permanent resident, you then need to file the same Form I 130. The process differs a little where your spouse will have to wait for an immigrant visa to become available in the second preference category. Once the visa number becomes current, your spouse may apply for adjustment of status. During the application process, your spouse must maintain the non – immigrant status.
6. Can I file for my parents if I am permanent resident?
No, you are not allowed by the law to file for your parents. If you wish to petition for them, then you must be a US citizen.
7. I have petitioned for my husband. Can he join me in the United States when the petition is in process?
Yes, your husband may join you in the United States. You must petition him for a non-immigrant K-3 Visa while Form I 130 is pending. With this K3 visa, he may enter the United States. He is eligible to work while his permanent residency visa petition is pending.
If you are one among those who wish to work in the US permanently, then here we go. Not many know the fact that they can be sponsored a green card by an employer. The form I-140 is a petition filed by the US employer for a foreign national to work in the US on a permanent basis. Form I140 can also be used to self petition by some highly qualified foreign professionals.
Documents that Accompany Form I-140:
Generally Form I-140 is filed by the US employer and is usually the second step in the green card process. For most cases the labor certification must be approved. The labor certificate should certify that there are no US workers qualified to do the job where the alien is presently working and if qualified that the wages of the employed US workers will not be affected .
The employer should prove that he is in good financial position and can provide enough salary as advertised for the job. The following documents should be provided along with the completed form I-140 application.
- Labor certification that is approved
- A financial statement proving that the employer’s financial position
- Employee’s experience letters at the previous employments from the concerned employers
- Degree certificates, qualification certificates and other documents proving the educational qualification.
- The required fees along with the filled form I 140
The visa petition when submitted to the USCIS should always include details of whether the petition from the beneficiary is being filed at an American Consulate for an immigrant visa or whether the beneficiary will apply for an adjustment of status with the USCIS.
Once the application is completed it has to be mailed along with the necessary supporting documents to the USCIS. After the USCIS receives the form I-140 petition, an Application Receipt Notice will be sent which will have a file number to the case. This receipt is proof or an acknowledgment that the USCIS has received your petition. On approval of the petition by the USCIS an Approval Notice will be issued which is an assurance that the petition is approved by the USCIS and then comes the green card process.
Though the application is approved, it does not change the non immigrant status of the applicant. The status will remain the same as before the petition was approved. The petition’s approval relies on the applicant’s job and if there is a change in the job a new form I140 is required. The beneficiary of this approved petition will then have to apply to adjust status or for an immigrant visa.
Further, a major advantage is that Form I-485 can be concurrently filed with form I-140. If the form I 140 is filed already with the application notice, form I-485 can be filed along with Employment authorization and Advance parole. The option of E filing is also available while filing the form I-140 in which case it will automatically be sent to appropriate Service Center. Once the from I 140 is accepted, it will be checked for completeness and in case of any incomplete information there is a possibility of denial of the application.
Getting a petition approved is not a big task, but the follow up tasks are much more important for which a proper guidance is essential. With proper direction the process can indeed be more faster and easier as well.