Obtaining a green card can be complicated, so losing one can be disastrous for someone planning to stay in the United States long term. If you recently got a green card, you may be wondering what you can do to make sure you don’t lose it. For help securing your green card, contact our New York City Green Card Immigration Lawyer for more information.

What are common ways to lose a green card?

The two biggest reasons for losing a green card are law violations and leaving the country for extended periods of time. If you are convicted of a crime, you should immediately contact an immigration lawyer. Serious offenses could possibly get you deported. There is no written rule for how long you can stay outside of the United States. However, you generally shouldn’t plan to be absent for longer than a year if you want to keep your green card. You will probably have trouble trying to get back into the country if away for over a year unless you have a reentry permit. This is because border officials are trained to figure out if the US is not your permanent residence.

What is a reentry permit?

A reentry permit is a travel document that allows you to easily reenter the country if you’re planning on living outside of the US for longer than a year but less than two years. You can apply for one with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If you are out of the country due to illness or other unexpected circumstances, you can also apply at a US embassy for a special immigrant visa as a returning green card holder.

How else can I keep my green card?

In general, the best way to keep your green card is to prove that you intend to permanently reside in the United States. You can do this by applying for US citizenship, but normally you need to have had your green card for at least five years to be eligible. By applying for citizenship, you can prove to immigration services that you intend to live permanently in this country. Green card holders are also required to notify the USCIS if changing addresses. Not updating your address can possibly be grounds for deportation. If you’re a male between the ages of 18 to 25 eligible for military service, you should register with the Selective Service System, which is essentially the US’s military draft system. Failure to do this could also risk your green card status. For all your legal immigration needs, Cheryl R. David is here to help. Contact us today to find out how we can help you secure your green card.