After becoming a legal permanent resident (green card holder), an individual is able to maintain his or her permanent residence in the U.S. until he or she:
• applies for a complete naturalization process; or
• loses or abandons his or her status.
A green card holder in the U.S. can fail to maintain permanent residence in the U.S. in different ways. It can also be used to obtain USA citizenship. Our immigration lawyer in Miami explains below how to maintain this status.
How a permanent residence can be lost
After receiving the residence permit in USA, it is important for the green holder to follow certain rules in order to maintain it. Two of the most common ways in which the permanent residence in the U.S. can be lost are:
• if the person in question leaves the U.S. for long periods of time’
• if he or she breaks the U.S. laws.
If a green card holder leaves the U.S. for another country where he or she intends to reside in, the U.S. permanent resident loses his or her status. Although this intention might be hard to prove, border officials have their own ways to detect if someone intends to reside in another country. In order to avoid this issue, the following guidelines should be met:
• The green card holder should come back to the U.S. in a maximum of six months from the date of his or her departure;
• He or she should not stay outside the U.S. for more than one year;
• If however, the above case happens, the U.S. permanent resident should apply for a reentry permit.
As about violation of the law, the U.S. does not impose a list of specific laws that would cause someone to be deported, therefore it is advisable to contact an immigration attorney in USA if you find yourself in a situation in which you are arrested or charged with breaking the U.S. legislation. We can also advise on a residence permit in USA.
Applying for citizenship to maintain permanent residence in U.S.
If a green card holder applies for citizenship as soon as possible, he or she will greatly increase the chance of maintaining his or her residence in the U.S.. Generally a green card holder will have to wait for five years in order to be able to apply for citizenship, with certain exceptions – e.g. this period is decreased to only four years if the green card holder received asylum, and to only three years if he or she was married to a U.S. citizen at the date of the green card appliance, and the couple is still married in the present.
Please contact our immigration lawyers in the United States if you need more information. We will also help you apply for USA citizenship.