Do's and Don'ts of a US Green Card

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A Green Card holder will enjoy all the rights and privileges in America on par with any US citizen. But may...

A Green Card holder will enjoy all the rights and privileges in America on par with any US citizen. But may lose his Green Card if he claims that he is a US citizen For those of you, especially students for whom Kentucky Fried Chicken has always been a delicious dish the news from Kentucky with regard to visas and immigration was not that "yummy!" Upset with the recent Boston bombings (by two brothers who first came to the US as immigrants from war-torn Chechnya), Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky suggested the Senate majority leader through a letter that time had come to consider suspending student visas to those, at least, from "high-risk areas." However, Democrats have come out with instantaneous criticism that the Republicans were using the Boston Marathon bombings as a pretext to thwart Obama's plans to revamp the country's immigration system. It's lot of politics, any way! Let's leave it behind and move on to take a look at the general issues concerning immigrant visas to the United States (Green Card):
rao magantiWhat is a Green Card?
It's a proof of your immigrant visa status. The Green Card empowers you with the right to live in the US permanently; and, most importantly, work in the US without any work authorisation. A Green Card holder in the US is called a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR). How many ways to get a Green Card? (a) Through a job in the US. (b) Through an investment up to or above a specified level in a business in US. (c) Through special categories of jobs like Afghan/Iraqi translator; employment with international organisations, religious worker etc. (d) Through family categories. (e) K-visa categories for fiancé (e)s of US citizens and their accompanying minor children (K-1 and K-2 visas) (f) Refugees and asylees.
What are the 'Dos' and 'Don'ts of a Green Card?
  • Short of having voting rights in national elections and job opportunities in most of the government agencies, a Green Card holder will enjoy all the rights and privileges in America on par with any US citizen. But a Green Card holder may lose his Green Card if he claims that he is a US citizen;
  • A Green Card holder may lose his immigrant status and be deported if he moves from his old address in the US and fails to report the change of address to the USCIS within 10 days.
  • Involving in a crime including domestic violence, seeking paid sex or practicing prostitution - in the US might lead to cancellation.
  • You are certain to lose your Green Card if you were out of the United States for more than one year. It will not be a problem if you stay outside America for lesser than six months before reentering the US. If you stay outside the US for more than six months, the border security officer who reviews your documents might or might not allow you in to the US. It's his/her sole discretion!
  • Those who were allowed to enter the US even after six months of stay outside the US are likely to get an annotation on their passport by the reviewing border security officer. The annotation will read-"outside US for�months." This should be taken as a serious warning that the Green Card holder should maintain his US residency well and should not repeat yet another instance of "long-duration-stay" outside the US.
  • If you want to stay outside the US for longer duration while on a Green Card, you may wish to apply to the USCIS, get it approved beforehand for a "re-entry permit." But, always keep in mind that despite the re-entry permit, the border security officer at the port of entry may not allow you in to the US after your long-stay outside the US.
  • l Re-entry permits on valid reasons are generally honoured at the US airports. But, a re-entry permit should not be taken as a guarantee for your entry in to the United States after your prolonged absence from America. If you stay outside the US for more than two years after obtaining a re-entry permit and without getting a returning resident visa, you may understand that you have lost your immigrant visa status in America.
  • Green Cards are issued for persons who would want to live permanently in the United States to eventually become its citizens. If an immigration officer at a port of entry in America believes that a particular Green Card holder is not truly committed to live permanently in the United States, he/she might cancel the Green Card and advice the card holder to seek a tourist visa from an American Consulate in his region. And, it will not be limited only to the "rarest of the rare" cases!
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