Safeguarding Your Green Card
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. This flyer
covers potential acts that could cause you to lose your green card.
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
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
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.
If you believe that one or more of the situations outlined above might
apply to you, we encourage you to contact our office at
By: Rahul Reddy
Rahul Reddy is the founding partner of Reddy & Neumann PC. He founded our firm in 1997 and has over 23 years practicing employment-based immigration.
Rahul‘s dedication to serving the immigrant community is evident, from his daily free conference calls to his weekly immigration Q&As on Facebook and YouTube Live. He is an active member of the immigrant community and is one of the founders of ITServe Alliance. He has been a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association since 1995.