Hearing that your 22-year-old son may be about to lose their Green Card can throw your world into turmoil. How could this happen? Aren’t Green Cards supposed to be pretty permanent?
Well, not exactly. While obtaining a Green Card can make life a lot easier for an immigrant, having one is still far removed from actual citizenship. There are various ways in which someone can put their Green Card at risk:
- Failure to renew: Conditional Green Cards must be replaced in time, but you can only do this within three months of its expiry. Make sure you mark it on your calendar.
- Leaving the country: You are allowed to go, as long as the immigration authorities do not think you have left to live permanently outside the US. Many people have fallen foul of the authorities for returning to their home country to look after a sick relative.
- Failing to complete tax forms: Authorities may take this to mean you no longer wish to reside in the US.
- Returning your Green Card: However angered you may be by things that happen here, do not hand in your Green Card in protest. You are unlikely to get it back.
- Paperwork errors: If immigration authorities believe your honest mistake when filling out forms was a purposeful lie, they may use this against you.
- Marriage for a Green Card: If officials believe your wedding was one of convenience, they may cancel your card.
- Criminal convictions: Some convictions are enough on their own. Or the authorities may use several separate less severe charges to convince a judge you should not be allowed to stay.
Seek help from an experienced family immigration attorney if you or someone in your family face a threat to your Green Card.