Although no longer green, green cards are the
document that proves you are a lawful permanent resident in the
United States, allowed to live and work here. (Other forms
of proof could be a stamp in your passport or on a CIS issued
paper.) If you have been granted that status by the
Citizenship and Immigration Service, you can reside in the U.S.
forever, unless you become inadmissible by committing a wrongful
act such as some crimes, terrorist acts, divorce during
conditional residency, or one of many other inadmissible acts.
Lately, the main reason aliens are losing their
green cards is because they are not truly living in the U.S. but
are living abroad, returning to the U.S. only to visit once or
twice a year. The purpose of permanent residence in the U.S.
is to live in the United States, not abroad. Unless you have
exceptional circumstances that keep you abroad (school,
employment, etc.) you should not be outside of the U.S. for more
than six months at any one time. You must maintain a
residence in the U.S. in all cases. You can get special
permission to live abroad for longer periods of time if needed.
How do you get a GREEN CARD, lawful permanent
residence? There are some basic ways, with many exceptions
along the way. The most common way is through a relative who is a
U.S. citizen or permanent resident or through employment, asylum, religious work,
investments, fame and even through relief from removal
proceedings. For more information on click on each of these
options at the right.
To read more about the history of green cards,
click HISTORY. To see the acronyms used by immigration
officers and practitioners, click ACRONYMS.
To learn about the terms used in Immigration
matters, click TERMS.