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Answers to 4 Important Questions About Green Cards and Immigration

If you want to immigrate to the United States, one of the major landmarks on your journey is receiving your “green card.” A green card proves that you are a lawful permanent resident of the United States. It gives you permission to live in the U.S. and seek employment here.

Understanding the basics of green cards is key to obtaining yours. An experienced immigration lawyer can help you understand the details of green cards and immigration as they apply to your situation.

When can a green card holder apply for citizenship?

A green card holder can apply for citizenship once they have held a green card for at least five years and meet several other requirements. The green card holder must also be at least 18 years old, have lived in the state or USCIS district for at least three months before applying for citizenship, have had “continuous residence” in the U.S. for five years and been physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months, stay in the U.S. until the naturalization process is complete, be able to read, write and speak English, and understand basic principles of U.S. history and government.

Why can a green card be revoked?

The U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) may step in and try to revoke your green card if:

  • The green card was obtained illegally.
  • The person was not eligible for a green card when they received one.
  • The green card holder is found to have “willfully” lied or omitted important facts when they applied for the green card.
  • The green card holder is affiliated with certain organizations, including the Communist party, a totalitarian party or a terrorist organization.
  • The green card holder receives an other-than-honorable discharge from the U.S. armed forces before five years of service are up.

What happens when a green card expires?

When a 10-year green card expires, your lawful permanent residency is not automatically revoked. However, you may find it difficult to obtain a driver’s license, get a job or carry out other tasks related to everyday living. You may also be charged with a misdemeanor if you do not have a current green card with you.

It is very important to renew your green card within six months before it expires or as soon as possible after it expires. Your attorney can help.

Why can a green card be denied?

A green card could be denied for many reasons. If a health exam reveals that you have a communicable disease that could endanger others, your green card may be denied. It may also be denied if you have not had the required vaccinations, if you have a drug addiction problem, or if you have a physical or mental disorder that threatens your safety or that of others. Being convicted of certain crimes may also lead to your green card being denied, as can involvement in certain activities like espionage or sabotage, violating U.S. immigration law, or failing to meet the application requirements.

An experienced Texas immigration attorney can help you on your journey to a green card or citizenship.


Stacy Webb is a Director at Kraft & Associates, Attorneys at Law, P.C in Dallas, TX and focuses on Immigration and Personal Injury Cases.

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