For immigrants, a green card is a very coveted document that allows them to live and work permanently in the United States. Not only does it give them the freedom to live and work anywhere they want in this country, but it offers a path to citizenship after three to five years.
Although the government issues over one million green cards every year, most of them go to the family members of current green card holders. This leaves plenty of interested individuals all over the world desperately trying to find a way to get ahead of the line and obtain a green card.
Are there some things you cannot do with a Green Card
If you are lucky enough to have received a green card, you must always be very careful not to jeopardize it and lose the pathway it offers towards citizenship or, worse yet, risk being deported. Basically, although a green card does offer you almost every right that American citizens have, it does not give you the right to vote. If you do, you could be accused of having made a false claim to U. S. citizenship and risk deportation.
Other important facts about Green Cards
1. Physical presence
There are many people who, after receiving their green card, believe that they can live anywhere in the world and just fly in a couple of times a year to maintain their permanent resident status. This is a very common and risky misconception.
Once you fly back into the United States, you will be questioned at your point of entry as to how long you have been away. Lying to Customs and Border Protection is never a good idea. It could not only result in you losing this valuable document, you will probably end up being deported and denied any possibility of reapplying for this visa in the future.
In order to comply with the physical presence requirement, it is recommended that you fulfill some key indicators of permanent residency, such as: owning a home, having family ties, being employed within the continental United States, and filing your taxes.
2. Never surrender your Green Card
It may happen that after a perfectly legitimate trip abroad, you get to the airport and are stopped and asked to submit to a secondary inspection. At that point, you may be told that you need to surrender your green card. Should this happen to you, you should know that, as a permanent resident, you cannot be forced to do so. If you do, you may end up in detention for an extended period or be forced to abandon your green card altogether. A much better option is for you to request the presence of an immigration lawyer before the green card leaves your hands. Your immigration lawyer can then help you prepare for a hearing to which you are entitled as a green card holder.
3. There is more than one type of Green Card
The fact that green cards are given to permanent residents may have you believe that they are permanent as well. That is not the case. Some are conditional and are valid only for two years, such as those given through marriage or due to an investment. After this time, you have to apply for the conditions to be removed. Other green cards must be renewed every ten years. If you have had yours for this long, it may be more beneficial for you to consider applying for naturalization and forgetting about renewing the green card ever again. Not only is this process just slightly more expensive than the renewal, but once you become a citizen you can put your fears of ever being deported behind you.
Talk to an Immigration lawyer
If you are hopeful that you can qualify for a green card and want to live and work in the U.S., it may be time to schedule a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney and talk about your case. Your attorney will help you throughout this long and often frustrating process, but in the end, you may find that you have acquired the possibility of making your dreams come true for you and your family members as well.
Leave a Comment