A Guide for Keeping Your Green Card in Good Standing
A green card, also known as a permanent residence card, is an identification issued to someone who has been allowed to stay and work in the United States permanently. Officially known as the ‘Lawful permanent resident card’, it is also known as Form I-551. The green card is a status much coveted by all those who arrive in the USA.
The green card allows them to live as long as they want and is a precursor to getting citizenship of the USA. Getting a green card is not easy and involves a difficult procedure.
Once you get a green card, it gives you the privilege of staying in the US permanently. It must be remembered that the green card must be renewed once every 10 years. Also, if a green card holder violates any rules, the green card status can be rescinded.
Getting a green card is a major achievement for all those aspiring to become an American citizen. It is, therefore, important to keep it in good standing and not do anything to lose the status. The following are important things to keep in mind to keep the green card in good standing:
1) Follow all basic requirements
All the basic requirements need to be followed to keep the green card valid, This includes:
- Complying with all federal and state laws.
- File income tax returns and report income details to the IRS.
- Males of age 18 to 25 years need to compulsorily register with the selective service and may be called for military duty in case of an emergency.
2) Renew the green card
A green card holder who has stayed for more than 5 years is eligible to become a US citizen. However, for any reason, if one does not apply for citizenship, then the green card needs to be renewed once in 10 years. The Form I-90 needs to be submitted to renew the green card. In most cases, renewal is just a formality.
3) Ensure card remains valid
Even though the green card is valid permanently, it can be invalidated under certain conditions. A US green card holder can lose his green card status if:
- The holder stays outside the USA for more than 364 days without taking approval from the authorities.
- The holder voluntarily gives up his/her status.
- The holder commits a crime or violates immigration laws.
4) Be careful with the laws prior to getting the green card
A person who has a temporary permanent resident status may need a year’s time to get the permanent green card. During this period, they must be careful to ensure that they comply with all laws. A temporary stamp would be placed on the passport. The temporary stamp needs to be produced if demanded by any law enforcement agency or authority. Prior to getting the permanent green card, if a person changes his/her address, it must be notified within 10 days to the USCIS.
5) Status of children
A child born to a mother who is a green card holder automatically gets permanent resident status. If born outside the US, the birth certificate needs to brought and the mother must return to the USA within 2 years of the child’s birth.
6) Social security card
Most green card holders would have already received a social security card. If not, then applying for a social security card is mandatory. This is important, as it would help the cardholder to avail of social security benefits and Medicare, depending on other eligibility conditions.
A green card holder is a privileged resident of the US. One must take care to ensure that this status is kept in good standing.
H1-B Visa: How Does a H1-B Visa Work?