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Green Card

Protecting Your Permanent Residency

For many, the process of obtaining lawful permanent resident (“green card”) status can be a complex and challenging effort. Having a green card can provide certainty and peace of mind that you can live and work permanently in the United States. However, your permanent resident status can be revoked under certain scenarios. 

Acts That Could Make You Removable (Deportable)

  • Certain Arrests and Convictions
    Committing certain crimes can have devastating consequences for permanent residents, including the loss of a green card and deportation. Drug offenses (including marijuana), domestic violence crimes, firearms offenses, and other crimes involving “moral turpitude” (a general term to describe acts that are morally reprehensible and intrinsically wrong) are a few examples of crimes that could make you deportable. It
    is critical that you speak with an attorney before admitting guilt to any crime and seek the advice of an immigration attorney to understand how an arrest will affect your immigration status before the criminal case is completed.
  • Failing to Remove Conditions on Permanent Residency
    Certain noncitizens may receive a conditional green card that is valid for a period of two years. Failure to remove the conditions on a green card can result in the termination of conditional residency and possible deportation. It is important to monitor the expiration date of the conditional green card and follow the process for removing the conditions correctly. 
  • Falsely Claiming to Be a U.S. Citizen
    Noncitizens, including permanent residents, who claim to be U.S. citizens, whether in writing or not, are subject to removal from the United States. A false claim to U.S. citizenship is a serious violation of law and can have extreme and devastating immigration consequences. Waivers of this ground of removability are rarely, if ever, granted.

Lengthy Absences from the United States

  • Abandonment of Permanent Residence
    Green card holders who remain outside of the United States for long periods of time risk a determination that they have abandoned their permanent resident status. In general, trips outside the United States for less than six months are permitted. A trip of six months to one year may trigger increased scrutiny at the border, and the permanent resident should have a reasonable explanation for the lengthy trip. Trips of one year or more will likely result in a determination that you have abandoned your permanent resident status unless you have obtained pre-approval for the extended absence through a document known as a re-entry permit.

By: Emily Neumann, Managing Partner





Emily Neumann practices immigration law at Reddy Neumann Brown PC, Houston’s largest immigration law firm focused solely on U.S. employment-based immigration. Since 2005, she has partnered with HR professionals to help their businesses secure work authorization for their valued foreign national employees, including F-1 students. She has been named a “Top 10 Immigration Law Attorney” and received a “10 Best” Award for Client Satisfaction. Emily has been quoted in Bloomberg Law, U.S. News & World Report, Inside Higher Ed, and The Times of India on various hot topics in immigration. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Society for Human Resource Management, and HR Houston.