The Protection of your Residence
For many, the process of obtaining lawful permanent residence (“green card”) can be a complex and challenging endeavor. Having a green card can provide the certainty and peace of mind of being able to live and work permanently in the United States. However, permanent residence can be revoked in certain cases. This brochure covers the possible actions that could cause you to lose your green card.
Acts That Might Get You Removed (Deportation)
Certain arrests and convictions
Committing certain crimes can have devastating consequences for permanent residents, such as loss of green card and deportation. Drug crimes (including marijuana), domestic violence crimes, firearms crimes, and other crimes involving “moral turpitude” (a general term used to describe acts that are morally reprehensible and inherently wrong) are some examples of crimes that can get you deported. It is essential that you speak with an attorney before admitting guilt to any crime and that you seek the advice of an immigration attorney to understand how an arrest will affect your immigration status before the criminal case is completed.
Do not remove the conditions of permanent residence
Some noncitizens may receive a conditional green card that is valid for a period of two years. If the conditions of the green card are not removed, the conditional residence may end and lead to possible deportation. It is important to monitor the expiration date of the conditional green card and follow the process to remove the conditions correctly and to temporarily work in certain “professional occupations” that are specifically listed in the USMCA.
Falsely claiming to be a US citizen
Non-citizens, including permanent residents, who claim to be US citizens, whether in writing or otherwise, are subject to removal from the United States. A false claim of US citizenship is a serious violation of the law and can have extreme and devastating immigration consequences. Waivers of this ground for removal are rarely, if ever, granted.
Extended absences from the United States
Abandonment of permanent residence
Green card holders who remain outside the United States for long periods of time are at risk of being determined to have abandoned their permanent residence. Generally speaking, travel outside the United States for less than six months is permitted. A trip of six months to a year can trigger increased scrutiny at the border, and the permanent resident must present a reasonable explanation for the length of the trip. Travel lasting a year or more will likely result in a determination that you have abandoned your permanent residence, unless you have obtained pre-authorization for the extended absence through a document known as a re-entry permit.