Green Card Void

A US Permanent Resident (Green Card holder) must abide by certain conditions to maintain their green card. Despite being called “Permanent Residence” a green card can be revoked. We see this most often after international travel or a long-term stay outside the US, and attempted re-entry to the US.  If you are not careful to maintain your green card, it can be revoked. We discuss how your green card can be revoked here.

Can my green card (US Permanent Residence) be revoked?

Having a green card in the United States is a privilege, not a right. If you want to benefit from being a green card holder you must obey the conditions attached for being a US permanent resident. The best example is violating the conditions of a driver’s license. If you have too many speeding tickets, drive under the influence, or otherwise fail to maintain your driver’s license, your driving privileges and license can be revoked. Similarly, failure to maintain your green card or violation of the conditions of your green card can result in the revocation of your green card and your US permanent residence.

How can my green card be revoked?

The most common scenario we see for the revocation of a green card is after international travel or extended stays outside the United States. When you seek re-entry to the United States you will be inspected by US Customs and Border Protection who will verify your status and authorization to enter the United States. This inspection often triggers questions about the maintenance of your US Permanent Residence.  Green cards can be revoked for many reasons, here are some of the most common reasons we see:

  • Violation of criminal or civil laws in the United States
  • Spending more time outside the United States than is permitted as a green card holder
  • Fraud or misrepresentation

What if I’ve spent too much time outside the US?

If you have spent too much time outside the US you may be in jeopardy of abandoning your green card. Abandonment of your green card happens when you demonstrate that your intent is to no longer reside in the United States as a permanent resident after departing the United States. Keep in mind, that abandonment by a parent is imputed to a minor child who is in the parent’s custody and control. While a green card holder is allowed to travel outside the US, depending on the length and circumstances of your trip, it may lead to a determination that you have abandoned your green card. This can be triggered by consecutive stays of 12 months or more outside the US.

When do I need a re-entry permit?

If you will be outside the United States for six (6) months or more, you should consider obtaining a re-entry permit before you leave the United States. If you do not have a re-entry permit and you spend too much time outside the United States, you risk abandonment of your green card and being denied admission to the United States. 

What is a Re-entry Permit, and when do I need one? What are my rights and responsibilities as a US green card holder?

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