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A valid green card is necessary to ensure your ability to live, work and travel in the U.S. You should renew your green card if it is either expired or will expire in the next six months. You should be aware that the Department of Homeland Security uses the renewal process as an opportunity to review your record for anything that might jeopardize your lawful permanent resident (LPR) status.
Are you maintaining your residence in the U.S.?
If you’ve abandoned your LPR status, you cannot renew your green card. Your LPR status may be considered abandoned if:
· You’ve been outside the U.S. for more than 180 days
· You failed to file U.S. tax returns
· You took a job outside the U.S. for a foreign employer
· You’ve had frequent, extended absences from the U.S.
There is a rumor that you can maintain your LPR status just by visiting the U.S. for one week every six months. That’s not the law.
Are you a conditional resident?
Conditional green cards are only valid for two years. If you have a conditional green card that you received through marriage or an investment, you must file a case to remove the conditions and receive a standard 10-year green card.
Are you deportable?
If you’ve committed certain criminal offenses, you may put yourself at risk of being removed from the U.S. by renewing your green card. DHS will review your criminal record during the renewal process. If any of these five grounds of removability are present, you could wind up in immigration court:
· Crimes of moral turpitude (committed within 5 years of your admission)
· Multiple criminal convictions
· Aggravated felonies
· High speed flight
· Failure to register as a sex offender
· Drug-related offenses
If you are placed into removal proceedings, you will have the opportunity to present a defense to the Immigration Judge. Depending on the seriousness of the crime and the number of years you’ve lived in the U.S., you might be able to retain your LPR status.
Can I Renew My Green Card?
If any of the above situations apply to you, consult with an immigration attorney before you apply to renew your green card.