Permanent residents, or “green card” holders can live and work in the United States. Unlike the U.S. citizens they have no right to vote in a U.S. election or serve on a jury. There are various ways to obtain permanent residency such as: Through family or employment; as a special immigrant; through a refugee or asylee status; as a victim of human trafficking, crime victim, or victim of abuse; as well as through diversity visa lottery, or through registry. 

A green card can be issued for 2 years (as a conditional green card) and a petition to remove conditions on residence must be filed within 90 days of the card’s expiration. It can also be issued for 10 years and it must be renewed before it expires.  While the card may expire, permanent resident status itself does not ‘expire’.  

Issues with Loss and Abandonment of Permanent Residency:

Permanent resident status can be lost voluntarily when a permanent resident no longer wishes to live permanently in the United States. In that case, he can voluntarily give up his ‘green card’ by signing a form to ‘relinquish’ status before a U.S. consular officer, or before an immigration officer at a port of entry (e.g. Airport). We often assist our clients at the respective U.S. Consulates/Embassies with their voluntary relinquishment of green cards, and in obtaining a B1/B2 visa instead. 

Permanent resident status can also be lost through abandonment. Lawful permanent residents must not remain outside the United States for a period of more than 180 consecutive days. If they remain outside the country for a year or more, there is a presumption of abandonment of their permanent resident status. 

Permanent residency can be lost based on immigration violations including commission or conviction of certain criminal offenses.

Often, most of the issues with loss/abandonment of green card status, including certain criminal issues, arise upon one’s return to the U.S. after international travel, or by filing a premature application for renewal of green card or a citizenship application. If you have any issues or concerns, you must consult with an attorney before filing any of the applications with the USCIS.

In addition to Applications for Permanent Residency, we assist our clients with:

  • Petitions to Remove Conditions on Residence 
  • Applications to Renew/Replace Permanent Residence Card 
  • Applications for Reentry Permit 
  • Filing a Record of Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status with U.S. Consulates/Embassies and obtaining a B1/B2 visitor visa instead
  • Representation in Removal Proceedings arising out of issues with abandonment and commission of certain crimes