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Can a U.S. Green Card be Revoked?

Generally, a Green Card allows the holder to live and work in the U.S. on a permanent basis, but your rights as a lawful permanent resident are not absolute. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets forth various grounds upon which a non-citizen may be deported. Keep in mind, however, an individual’s status as a lawful permanent resident does not expire. The physical green card must be renewed every 10 years (similar to a drivers license), but the individual’s status is permanent.
Revoking a Green Card
Having your green card revoked is actually quite difficult but not impossible. A green card may be revoked based on numerous grounds including: fraud, criminal activity and/or abandonment.

  1. Fraud: If a green card holder lied, omitted relevant information or committed any fraud during the application process, his or her green card may be revoked. For example, marriage fraud is grounds for deportation. If a foreign national marries a U.S. citizen solely for the purpose of obtaining a green card, his or her status as a lawful permanent resident may be revoked.
  2. Criminal activity: The INA details specific crimes that would subject a non-citizen to deportation. Crimes involving moral turpitude, aggravated felonies and certain drug-related crimes can all subject a lawful permanent resident to revocation of their green card.
  3. Abandonment: An individual may lose lawful permanent resident status by intentionally abandoning it. You may be found to have abandoned your status if you: (1) move to another country and intend to live there permanently; (2) remain outside the U.S. for an extended period of time (more than 183 days), unless you intended this to be a temporary absence; (3) fail to file income tax returns while living outside the U.S.; and/or (4) declare yourself a “nonimmigrant” on your U.S. tax returns.

Keep in mind, this information is meant to provide a brief overview of the basic grounds for green card revocation. If you have any questions concerning your status as a lawful permanent resident, it may be helpful to speak with an attorney. Feel free to contact our office and schedule a consultation.
Responsibilities of a Permanent Resident
A green card holder is required to call the U.S. home and permanently reside within its boundaries. Periodic and brief travel outside the country is generally permissible, but a lawful permanent resident must live and maintain the U.S. as his or her primary residence. In addition, a lawful permanent resident is required to:

  • Obey the laws of the United States;
  • File income tax returns and report income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and state taxing authorities;
  • Support the democratic form of government and not attempt to change the government through illegal means; and
  • Register with the Selective Service (only applicable to males age 18 through 25).

For more information on how to protect your green card status, feel free to check out our blog.