Becoming a U.S. resident, while worthwhile, can be incredibly complex. Immigration laws can vary by situation, and the process can often take years. Once you’ve gotten your green card, though, you may think you’re in the clear. However, green card status does need to be maintained. There are several ways you can maintain your green card status to continue permanent residency in the United States.

statue of liberty

Don’t Leave for an Extended Period

In order to remain a U.S. green card holder, you must also maintain your permanent resident status. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to leave the country; in fact, you are free to go on vacation or take an extended trip to visit family abroad. What it does mean is that you shouldn’t leave the country frequently or for long periods of time – typically between six and 12 months. There are certain circumstances that allow you to leave the country for longer periods and still keep your green card. Informing the government of the circumstances of your extended leave can help you maintain your green card status while you’re away. You may be required to file for a reentry permit.

Follow the Law

Laws can vary greatly from state to state and even from city to city. Green card holders are required to follow all local, state, and federal laws in order to maintain their status. The consequences for breaking the law can include deportation, so it’s safe to say that all green card holders should closely follow the law. All laws are included from misdemeanor to felony, which can include violent crimes, lying to immigration, and voting in elections only available to U.S. citizens. 

Register for Selective Service

All male green card holders between the ages of 18 and and 25 years old must register for the U.S. Selective Service. Also known as the draft, those registered for the Selective Service are eligible for military conscription in the event of a national emergency. Failing to register for the Selective Service is illegal and can result in deportation or rejection of a future citizenship application. 

File Your Taxes

As a green card holder, you are required to report any income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and file yearly taxes. Like any other U.S. resident, those with a green card will receive a tax return. Filing your taxes proves your residency status. For example, residents of Missouri will file state, local, and federal taxes since all green card holders are classified as U.S. tax residents by the IRS.

Keep Your Address Current

It’s important to notify immigration immediately of any changes of address. Changing your address is free and must be done within 10 days of your move. 

Contact CoxEsq, P.C. Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

As you can see, there are many rules that apply to maintaining your Green Card status. Having a knowledgeable attorney on your side can make the green card process less stressful. If you have questions or need assistance regarding your green card, contact CoxEsq, P.C. Our experienced team can provide personalized assistance to you and your family in your quest to become and remain a permanent U.S. resident.