When you finally get your green card and become a legal permanent resident of the United States, you’re expected to live the rest of your life in the United States. And that’s exactly what your residency lets you do. Your resident status never expires. Your green card may expire, but that just means you need to go get a new one. Your LPR status never expires.
Your legal status in the U.S. may never expire on its own, but there are a few ways that status can be taken away from you if you’re not careful. Having a green card imposes a few conditions on you, and you could be eligible to have that status revoked and be deported if a court decides that you’ve violated any of those conditions. Remember, however, that these conditions only apply to legal permanent residents. If you become a naturalized citizen of the United States through honest, legitimate means, you are no longer subject to these restrictions.
One way that green card holders may become eligible to have their status revoked is by being convicted of certain crimes. Only certain crimes are sufficient to make someone deportable, but the standards can be somewhat subjective. Any crimes involving violence or controlled substances will definitely qualify, as well as any “crimes of moral turpitude.” Depending on the judge, that can include fraud, forgery, and even DUIs. “A lot depends on the severity of the DUI and the specific criminal charges,” says Jason Hennessey, marketing director of Los Angeles DUI Attorney, says, “But any guilty plea or criminal conviction can put an LPR at risk.”
Abandoning Your Residency
It’s also possible to have your green card revoked if you are found to be abandoning your residency. If you have a green card, you are expected to live your life in the United States, so if you are found to be living most of your life in some country other than the U.S., you are eligible to have your status taken away.
If you stay outside of the country for an extended period of time, you may be subject to a series of questions upon your return. Customs officials at the port of entry will ask about your travel and potentially your life in an attempt to verify where you are more established. If your most permanent place of residence or your primary source of income is outside of the United States, customs officials may find you to be effectively abandoning your residency.
The last way a resident can have their green card revoked is if they are found to have committed any fraud during their process of applying for the green card or even for citizenship. If you lie or even simply omit information while attempting to get legal status, your residency can be retroactively invalidated.