Worried About Losing Your Green Card?

Maintaining lawful permanent resident status in the United States comes with its challenges, and the fear of losing your green card can be a significant source of anxiety. Whether due to extended travel outside the U.S., issues with the law, or changes in your personal circumstances, you might worry about your status for several reasons. This article is designed to guide you through the key considerations and legal nuances of preserving your green card. By understanding your responsibilities and the potential risks, you can take proactive steps to safeguard your status as a lawful permanent resident.

If you receive a Notice to Appear from immigration authorities, an experienced Austin green card lawyer can help. Read on to learn key strategies for holding on to your green card and fighting removal if you get into trouble.

Risk Factors That Could Lead to Removal Proceedings

To keep your green card valid, you must maintain permanent residence in the U.S. Spending too much time outside the country can be seen as abandoning your residence, putting your status at risk.   Traveling Abroad

When traveling abroad, keep trips under 6 months to avoid being seen as abandoning your residence. Use Form I-131 to notify USCIS of longer trips. Apply for a reentry permit if traveling for over a year.

U.S. Residence and Taxes

Maintain a residence in the U.S., like owning property or renting an apartment.  Pay U.S. income taxes on your worldwide income to demonstrate that the U.S. remains your primary residence.

Family Ties  

Keep close family ties to the U.S., like having a spouse or children residing in the country as U.S. citizens or green card holders. Severing close family ties could indicate you have abandoned your permanent residence.

Civic Participation

Participate in civic life by voting in U.S. elections, obtaining a driver’s license, etc. Lack of civic participation and long absences from the U.S. could call your residency into question.

Maintaining the conditions of your green card and permanent residence is key. Connecting with an immigration lawyer can help ensure you follow all requirements properly and avoid issues that could lead to removal proceedings. You’ll keep your green card valid and avoid complications with the right strategies and precautions.

Consult a Green Card Lawyer for Guidance on Maintaining Your Green Card

Lengthy Trips Abroad 

If you leave the U.S. for extended periods (6 months or more), USCIS may question whether you still consider the U.S. your permanent home. While short trips are typically fine, prolonged absences could jeopardize your green card.

Failure to File Taxes

Paying your fair share of taxes is an obligation with permanent residence. If USCIS finds out you haven’t filed tax returns, they may initiate removal proceedings. It’s best to stay in compliance with the IRS to avoid issues.

Criminal Convictions

Any felony conviction is grounds for deportation and can lead to your removal from the U.S. While misdemeanors typically won’t cause problems, multiple convictions or crimes involving moral turpitude could still threaten your status.

Failure to Notify USCIS of Address Changes  

Not informing USCIS when you move to a new address shows a lack of compliance that could reflect poorly on your case. Be sure to file a Change of Address Form AR-11 with USCIS any time you move to avoid the appearance of unlawfully avoiding their correspondence.

Renewing Too Late 

Your green card must be renewed every 10 years. If you fail to renew before expiration, your permanent residence status is automatically terminated. Turn in your renewal application at least 6 months early to ensure enough processing time and avoid potential issues. You can maintain your green card without worry by staying on top of all requirements. But if removal proceedings are initiated, an experienced immigration lawyer can help fight to preserve your status.


Safeguarding your green card requires careful attention to various legal obligations and residency requirements. Understanding the potential risks, such as prolonged travel outside the U.S., failure to pay taxes, or criminal activity, is crucial for maintaining your lawful permanent resident status. By actively engaging in civic duties and maintaining ties within the U.S., you demonstrate your commitment to permanently residing there. If you face legal challenges or receive a Notice to Appear, consulting with an experienced immigration lawyer can provide guidance and representation to navigate complex immigration laws and protect your rights. Remember, proactive steps and legal awareness are key to preserving your status and ensuring your future in the United States.