Lose Your Green Card and Permanent Resident Status: Key Risks and Prevention Strategies

Learn how to safeguard your Green Card and maintain your Permanent Resident Status, including key steps to prevent loss and what to do if your status is at risk.

Manji Law, P.C.Manji Law, P.C.
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Atlanta Immigration Attorney Jameel Manji

Author: Jameel Manji, Founder, Manji Law, P.C.

Mr. Manji founded Manji Law in 2016 to follow his passion of helping people navigate the complicated immigration system. Mr. Manji graduated from Georgia State University College of Law and received Master of Taxation from the Georgia State’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. Published on: March 21, 2024.

Manji Law is your complete immigration solution. If you are seeking assistance with the Atlanta Immigration Court, please give us a call. Manji Law can provide valuable insight, assistance, and a guiding hand to help you achieve your goals.

Keeping Your Permanent Resident Status


Maintaining one’s permanent resident status, also known as a Green Card, is a matter of vital importance for many individuals who have made the significant decision to call the United States (U.S.) their home. At Manji Law, P.C., we understand the substantial investment of time, emotions, and resources that go into obtaining and preserving this status. 

Retaining permanent residence in the U.S. requires adherence to specific legal guidelines and a continued commitment to residing within the country’s borders. Occasionally, green card holders may find themselves in scenarios where their permanent residence is in jeopardy, such as when navigating the complexities of the immigration system or confronting certain legal challenges. 

Having a dedicated immigration law firm like ours by your side can make a crucial difference. With extensive experience in a range of immigration issues and a reputation for providing robust defense for our immigrant clients, we are prepared to champion your right to maintain your green card status throughout.

Understanding Permanent Resident Status

Permanent resident status is a vital concept for individuals seeking to establish a life in and outside the United States, with lawful permissions to reside and work indefinitely within the country.

The benefits of permanent resident status include:

  • Lawful employment in the U.S.: Open to a wide range of employment opportunities without the need for employer sponsorship.
  • Access to education: The ability to attend schools and universities.
  • Path to citizenship: Eligibility to apply for naturalization after meeting residency requirements.

The green card, officially known as the permanent resident card, is the physical representation of one’s status and serves several crucial functions:

  1. Proof of lawful status: When interacting with federal and state authorities.
  2. Re-entry documentation: Required when returning to the U.S. after travel abroad to signify permission to re-enter.
  3. Employment authorization: Confirms the right to work in the U.S. for employers.

Understanding and maintaining your status is imperative. If you become a lawful permanent resident, know that this status is granted until you either voluntarily apply for and obtain citizenship or, regrettably, lose or abandon your status due to specific actions or violations, as explained here.

Common Ways to Lose Your Green Card and Status

Criminal Convictions

It’s crucial to understand that certain criminal offenses may have severe consequences for permanent residents. Those found guilty of specific crimes, especially drug-related offenses, face a high risk of having their permanent residency revoked. We are here to provide a robust defense for immigrants facing drug charges, aiming to protect their chance at the American dream.

Abandonment of Residency

Permanently living outside the U.S. or even extended absences can signal to immigration authorities that you have abandoned your residency. We advise clients to be mindful of their travel plans and maintain strong ties with the U.S. Any prolonged absence should be carefully considered, as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) maintains strict policies on what constitutes an abandoned or lost permanent resident status.

Failure to Remove Conditions on Residency

For those who have been granted conditional residency, it’s imperative to take timely action to remove the conditions on your permanent resident status. Our firm supports conditional permanent residents every step of the way to ensure they meet all requirements for removing the conditions on their conditional permanent resident status.

Preventing the Loss of Your Green Card

To prevent the loss of your permanent residence status, you must follow several crucial steps.

Maintaining Continuous Residence 

It is crucial to document your physical presence within the U.S. and maintain significant ties to the country, including:

  • Maintaining a U.S. address.
  • Keeping U.S. bank accounts active.
  • Having a valid driver’s license or state ID.

Understanding and Complying With U.S. Tax Laws 

As a green card holder or legal permanent resident, filing your tax returns is non-negotiable. Ensure you comply with all tax obligations to demonstrate fiscal residence.

  • File federal, state, and local taxes.
  • Report all income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Renewing or Replacing Your Green Card 

Renewing or replacing your green card before it expires is vital. Timeliness in managing your documentation keeps your legal status in check. Monitor your green card’s expiration date and begin the renewal process six months prior to expiration.

We comprehend the complexities of immigration law and the gravity of every decision made in this process. Trust us to guide you effectively, ensuring your status as a permanent resident remains secure.

What to Do If You Are at Risk of Losing Your Status

If you believe your permanent resident status in the U.S. is in jeopardy, immediate action and understanding the correct procedures are essential. Here’s how we at Manji Law, P.C. can guide you through the process to safeguard your status.

  1. Legal options and appeals: If you find yourself facing the risk of losing your permanent resident status, it’s crucial to explore all legal remedies. This might involve filing specific forms and taking appropriate legal actions promptly. Identify why your status is at risk and contact an immigration attorney.
  2. Re-entry permit and returning resident visa: For those who have spent significant time outside the U.S., there are legal documents, such as re-entry permits and returning resident visas, which can help in maintaining your status. Do not wait to act after you have returned to the U.S. or until your green card is close to expiration. We can help prepare the necessary applications and documentation in advance of your travels.

How Manji Law, P.C. Can Help You

We at Manji Law, P.C. empathize with the complexities our clients face. We provide passionate and knowledgeable defense for those seeking to obtain or protect their permanent resident status. Our approach is to combine effective legal advocacy with a personal touch to the diverse needs of each client in Decatur, Georgia.

As a committed advocate for our clients, we understand the nuances of immigration law and prioritize providing personalized legal strategies. We 

  • Assist you with the green card process.
  • Assist you with appeals and legal submissions.
  • Explain U.S. immigration laws and how to maintain your permanent resident status.
  • Help you file Form I-90 (Application to replace permanent resident card).

Speak to an Immigration Attorney in Georgia

Permanent resident status comes with great privileges. Nevertheless, you must maintain your status to keep enjoying these privileges. At Manji Law, P.C., we handle each case with the concern and dedication it deserves, ensuring your rights and residency are defended. Working with us ensures you have a passionate team striving to secure your lawful permanent resident status against any challenges that may arise. 

Our approach is founded not only on our vast legal experience but also on the personal touch and commitment that Jameel Manji, our founder, extends to each client. We pride ourselves on being accessible, taking the time to offer a high-level overview of our clients’ needs, and guiding them through the legal processes with a caring and understanding demeanor. 

Contact us today, and let’s work together to secure your future in the United States.