Your quick-reference guide to maintaining lawful permanent resident status in the U.S.
What you need to know about maintaining your status
If you are a lawful permanent resident of the United States, your green card may be evidence of your status, but more may be needed to maintain your status, to travel outside the United States without inconvenience, or to become a naturalized U.S. citizen in the future. If you leave the United States for a prolonged period of time, you may jeopardize your permanent resident status and your future ability to naturalize.
Upon receipt of lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, you are expected to follow the necessary steps to maintain your LPR status. In essence, maintaining LPR status means acting in accordance with your intention to make the U.S. your permanent home country. Certain actions or omissions may be deemed as inconsistent with your LPR status can be regarded as abandonment of your permanent residency and may result in loss of your LPR status.
What you need to do to maintain your status
- Establish a U.S. home residence address.
- Obtain a Social Security Number. Remember, you should contact the Social Security Administration with your evidence of LPR status, to have any restrictions removed.
- Comply with income tax reporting requirements. Remember, U.S. tax laws are complex, and it is recommended that you consult with a qualified U.S. tax advisor, regarding your specific filing requirements in the U.S. It is also recommended, but not required, that you establish bank accounts in the U.S., obtain a U.S. driver’s license, and enroll any minor children in U.S. schools.
- Register with the Selective Service at sss.gov within 30 days, if you are a male between the ages of 18 and 25. You might not know but the Selective Service System is an independent agency of the United States government that maintains information on those potentially subject to military conscription. All male U.S. citizens and male immigrant non-citizens, who are between the ages of 18 and 25 are required by law to have registered within 30 days of their 18th birthdays.
- Register your children with legal permanent residency, within 30 days after their 14th
- Comply with the various travel regulations. Although you are free to travel outside of the U.S with an unexpired passport and a Green Card, you should not remain outside of the U.S. for a continuous period of more than 180 days, as you might be refused admission back into the country, on the basis that you have abandoned your LPR status. You may even be charged with abandonment based on other factors that might reflect negatively on your intent to reside in the U.S., such as employment abroad, the lack of a fixed address, or travel patterns that show frequent, prolonged absences, even if it is less than 180 days at a time. To avoid problems arising out of your extended travel, maintain good documentation of your ties to the U.S. Apply for a re-entry permit while you are in the U.S. Retain documentation of the reasons for your temporary trips abroad and if possible, obtain a round-trip ticket originating from your U.S. residence.
- Obey the law! Permanent residents may also be deported for violation of certain laws, including for conviction of even a minor drug-related offense. Conviction of certain felonies. Conviction of certain firearms or domestic violence offenses. Knowingly encouraging or aiding anyone else to enter the U.S. illegally or fraudulently. Falsely claiming U.S. citizenship for any purpose. Failing to notify the Immigration Service of a change of address. Voting or registering to vote in the U.S as only citizens of the U.S. have the right to vote or serve on a jury in the U.S.
What you need to do to maintain conditional permanent resident status
If your LPR status was obtained through investment (such as the EB-5 Programme) or a marriage of less than two years, to a U.S. Citizen, you will receive conditional permanent resident status. Conditional permanent residents have the same rights and responsibilities as other LPRs. However, they are subject to the following important requirements:
- Conditional Residents must continue to meet their eligibility requirements during the two-year conditional period. These requirements include maintaining the investment (in the case of an immigrant investor) or maintaining a shared residence and good faith marriage (in marriage-based cases).
- Conditional Residents must seek to remove the conditions within 90 days before the second anniversary of their admission, as a conditional permanent resident. Failure to do so could result in losing their immigration status.
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