Obtaining a green card is an exciting achievement. Being in possession of this document means that you are a legal permanent resident (LPR), and that there is much less fear of ICE knocking on your door or possibly even detaining you. However, many people think green cards provide much more protection than they actually do. Other individuals simply do not understand the rights they have when they do have a green card. To clear up these misconceptions, below are the four biggest myths about green cards and the truth behind them.
Green card holders have the right to travel outside of the United States for up to six months. This has many people thinking that they only need to visit the United States twice a year and that they can still hold onto their green card. This is not necessarily true. Green cards are intended to help individuals who want to permanently and legally live in the United States. If you have a green card and only come to visit the United States for one or two weeks out of the year, you can expect Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to become suspicious and challenge your status when you try to return to the country.
Even if CBP does challenge your status at the airport, they cannot force you to surrender your green card. If you give them your card, you may end up in a detention center for several months. It can also mean completely abandoning your green card and the protection it provides. If a CBP officer challenges your status, you have the right to keep your green card and attend a hearing. If an officer asks for your card, tell him or her that you want to speak to an immigration attorney immediately.
Green cards do not provide you permanent legal status forever. They do have an expiration date of either two years or ten years, depending on the type for which you applied. Once you are approaching this expiration date, you can renew your green card. It is important to remember, though, that the naturalization process to become a U.S. citizen is a better option than continuing to renew your green card.
One of the reasons naturalization is a better option than renewing a green card is because green card holders can still be deported. United States citizens cannot. Many people think that because they are an LPR, they are protected from deportation. Green card holders who commit any crime, vote in an American election, fail to report a change of address, or commit other violations are at risk of being deported.
If you need to obtain your green card, or you are at risk of losing yours, call our Chicago immigration lawyers today at Kriezelman, Burton & Associates today. We can help with any issues that have arisen with yours, or assist with the process of receiving one so you can enjoy permanent resident status. Call us today to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys.
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