Trips outside the US

Can my Green card be taken away from me?

Yes, you can lose your green card.  If you are gone out of the US long enough to have a customs official make a determination that you don’t appear to reside in the US, he/she may block your entry to the US. That is the reason why it is so important for you to apply for and receive a re-entry permit when you leave the US for any extended period of time.  You can be deported from the US for committing a violent crime.  And you need to inform USCIS within 30 days if you change your address.

I need to travel out of the US for more than a year.  Is there something I should do before I leave the states?  

Yes, you need to file for and receive a re-entry permit.  That shows the customs official on your reentry that it was your intent when you left the country to return.  If citizenship in the US is your goal, you need to be sure that it “looks like” you intend to reside here.

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Permanent Residency and US Citizenship

Is permanent residency a path to U.S. citizenship?  

Yes, it is.  And there are advantages to being a US citizen.  Citizenship is a show of patriotism for your country; you are able to vote in elections.  You may sponsor family members to come to the US.  If you were to have a child born abroad, he/she would be a US citizen, and certainly your child born in the US is a US citizen.  You may travel on a US passport; you become eligible to apply for Federal jobs; and you may run for elected office.  It sometimes takes a long time to get citizenship.  If that is your goal, apply for citizenship immediately when you get your green card.  Do not leave the US for long periods of time (like over a year).  Do start to study for the citizenship test.  Be sure an go for interviews with immigration services when they are scheduled.  Be an upstanding and moral person.

Is there a certain time period that I must remain in the United States each year?  

You need to have it “look like” you intend to be a resident of the US.  Theoretically you should physically be in the US for 6 months and 1 day.  But does that “look like” your intent is to be a US resident?  It would be more prudent to present a better show of faith than 6 months and 1 day year after year.

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Permanent Residency

After petition approval, if a member of my family is in a different country, can he/she interview there?

Yes, there are Consulates in most countries and your family member may go to that Consulate to interview.

What is the process to being granted permanent residency (‘green card’)?

This question is assumed to be the amount of time to process or adjudicate the I-829 (Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions).  For the current processing times, consult https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/Dashboard.do for the processing time of your particular petition.  The time can stretch from 8 to 12 months.  A “request for evidence” increases the time.  Make sure your petition is neat and complete.

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