Lawful Permanent Residents – How to Maintain Immigration Status?

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In order to enjoy the privilege of living and working in the U.S. without any restrictions lawful permanent residents must adhere to certain basic rules to maintain their status.

In order to successfully maintain their immigration status, lawful permanent residents must take note of the following criteria:

  • Should obey the federal, state, and local legal system.
  • Should promptly pay all federal, state, and local income taxes.
  • Males who are between 18 and 25 years of age should register with the Selective Service of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Should possess the proof of their permanent resident status at all times.
  • Should notify the Department of Homeland Security of any address change and that too within 10 days of moving to their new address. (Form AR-11 is the form used to notify the address change)
  • Should not stay away from the U.S. for a long time or move to another country to reside there on a permanent basis. In case the Lawful Permanent Resident is planning a long trip outside the U.S. then he/she should first obtain a re-entry permit. Form I-131 should be filed along with information regarding the intended travel.

Any kind of violation of any of the above listed criteria will be considered a contradictory action to the purpose of the Green Card and may lead to the cancellation of the permanent resident status.

How to Obtain a Re-entry Permit?

In spite of having legitimate reasons for traveling out of the U.S., long periods of absence from the U.S. will lead to an assumption that a person is not maintaining a permanent resident status in the U.S. It is very important that a lawful permanent resident, who intends to stay out of the U.S. for an extended period of time, should file and obtain a re-entry permit before leaving the country. Long period of time is generally more than 6 months but less than 2 years. The Green Card may be used to re-enter the U.S. after trips of less than 1 year duration. A re-entry permit, which is valid for two years, can be used in place of the Green Card to re-enter the country.

The government understands the fact that there are instances when a lawful permanent resident will be required to leave the U.S. for an extended period of time. In these circumstances, it is essential that the permanent resident shows the temporary, but long term need, to travel out of the country.

When a lawful permanent resident has the need to travel outside of the U.S. for more than 6 months, a re-entry permit is an easy way to demonstrate his or her intention to permanently reside in the country.

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