Earning the privilege to live and work in the U.S. permanently is a significant life milestone for many people. These individuals are sometimes referred to as green card holders. However, as a green card does not translate to citizenship status, there are times when this privilege can be revoked.
It’s essential to appreciate that there is absolutely nothing “permanent” about a permanent residency status. If you are a permanent resident, there are three instances when you can potentially lose your green card.
If you forfeit it
You may opt to vacate your green card and leave the U.S. voluntarily for personal reasons. In this case, you will be required to fill and submit Form I-407 (a Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status).
If you live out of the U.S. for an extended period
A green card allows you to leave and enter the country as many times as you wish. However, you may not continuously live outside the U.S. for as long as you wish. In other words, you cannot live outside the U.S. continually for more than one year. If this happens, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency will presume that you have abandoned your green card.
If you commit immigration fraud
Immigration fraud is not uncommon. If you lie to obtain any form of immigration benefits, you will be considered to have committed immigration fraud. A common example of this is marrying for a green card. Besides losing your permanent residency status, committing immigration fraud can lead to serious legal consequences that may include heavy fines and jail time.
Protecting your rights
If you have realized your dream to live and work in the U.S. permanently, you need to take proactive steps to protect this accomplishment. Understanding how immigration laws work can help you avoid missteps that can lead to the revocation of your green card.